Thirty years ago, Hayden Fry arrived at Iowa and began one of the most extreme makeovers in college football history.
Fry, who had spent almost his entire life in Texas, changed the uniforms. He changed the logo, changed the offense, changed the way his team ran on and off the field, changed perceptions, changed mindsets.
Eventually, he even changed the local economy.
Iowa had endured 17 consecutive non-winning seasons at that point and hadn't beaten Michigan, Ohio State or Purdue for 17 years. But in his third season at Iowa, Fry took the Hawkeyes to the Rose Bowl, their first of 14 bowl appearances under his guidance.
His contributions, which still reverberate through the Iowa program, will be celebrated Friday in Coralville with a daylong event called FryFest.
Included in the festivities will be a car show, trade show, tailgate party, pep rally, three concerts and opportunities for Iowa fans to buy merchandise and reminisce with athletes and coaches.
The highlight will come at 10 a.m. when the stretch of First Avenue between I-80 and Iowa Route 6 officially is renamed Hayden Fry Way.
"Hayden used to drive down First Avenue every day on his way to work," said Dale Arens, Iowa's trademark licensing director. "He was a visionary. He recognized that the program he was inheriting had not been successful in recent years and he knew that when he was successful, it was going to have an impact on the local economy. People would be staying in those hotels and eating in those restaurants.
"For me, one of the cool things about this, beyond his accomplishments as a coach, is it speaks to his impact on the economies of Coralville and Iowa City and the entire state for that matter."
It's hard to say who exactly came up with the idea for FryFest. Arens had a hand in it. So did Josh Schamberger, president of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. So did Iowa associate athletic director Rick Klatt.
"My view is this is kind of a reconstitution of the group of people who worked very well together on the whole Herky on Parade thing," Arens said. "It's not like anybody just had an 'ah-hah' moment. We've done it together."
The event has been in the planning stages for about a year. While the No. 1 objective was to honor Fry, there's also plenty of marketing impetus behind it.
Klatt said Schamberger is "always on the lookout for ways to bring folks to the area for multiple-day stays in area hotels and eateries, etc. He was also aware of our need to sell a few tickets to our early/non-conference games."
Schamberger said he had been hoping for some time to develop some sort of festival on the Labor Day weekend.
"A Coralville council member (Tom Gill) had expressed an interest in the past at naming a street after Coach Fry in recognition for all his efforts in transforming our community," Schamberger added. "Rick, Dale and I have worked closely together for years. It was an easy thing to pull together."
Fry, now 80 and living in Mesquite, Nev., will be there. He will be part of several aspects of the festival although Arens said he's trying not to overwork him.
Schamberger described the coach's reaction as "incredibly appreciative.'' Arens called it "humble gratefulness'' and said he can tell Fry is looking forward to the weekend.
"In the conversations I've had with him, I can tell you there's nothing wrong with his sense of humor, his wit," Arens said. "He makes me laugh every time I talk to him."
The organizers hope to make this an annual event celebrating not only Fry but "everything Hawkeye." But they admit they enter this first one uncertain of how it will be received.
"There seems to be a lot of excitement building for it," Arens said. "We're getting a lot of questions.
"There's no preexisting template for this. We're kind of pioneering something here. That alone has us kind of excited."