In addition to welcoming nearly 500 players to the inaugural Legends of Iowa Football Camp in Bettendorf early next month, former Hawkeyes greats are giving fans a chance to be involved.
"We were hearing from a lot of adults who wanted a way to participate, and this gives them a chance to reminisce with former Iowa players in low-key surroundings at an evening social that will be held during the time our camps are taking place in the Quad-Cities," said former Hawkeye Matt Hughes, one of the event organizers.
The social, which includes a silent auction of autographed memorabilia, is Wednesday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m. at the Isle of Capri banquet hall in Bettendorf. The $75 cost includes food, drinks and the chance to visit with and collect autographs from the camp staff, which includes as many as 50 former Iowa football players.
A short program emceed by former Hawkeye Anthony Herron, now a college football analyst for the Big Ten Network, will include brief remarks by several of the former Iowa players in attendance, but the evening is designed primarily to give fans a chance to reminisce with the players.
"I'm expecting a lot of good stories will be shared that night," Hughes said.
Pre-registration is required and reservations are being accepted through Thursday under the sign-up tab at legendsofiowa.com.
Like the accompanying camp, the social has been organized by the Iowa Football Club, a non-profit alliance of nearly 375 former Hawkeyes as a way to raise money for charity and give back to communities around the state.
All dollars raised by the social and the accompanying camps will support charitable causes.
Many of the former Hawkeye football players in attendance at the social also will help with one or both of the two camps to be held at Bettendorf High School. A half-day camp July 5 is designed for players in first through fifth grades and a two-day, day-long camp on July 6-7 is for players entering sixth through 12th grades next fall.
Hughes said more than 250 players are signed up for the half-day camp and registrations have approached that level for the day-long camp as well.
"It's been interesting to see where the campers are coming from," Hughes said. "We expected a lot of players from eastern Iowa, but we have a guy driving in from Virginia to attend and we have campers coming from as far away as Michigan and Minnesota in addition to a ton from the central part of Iowa."
The level of interest has taken organizers a bit by surprise.
"Some of them are players whose parents attended Iowa so it has been a little like the motto of our club, ‘Once a Hawk, Always a Hawk,'" Hughes said. "It's taught us a lot about the reach of Hawkeye football and how people never lose the passion no matter where they live."
Hughes said support for the camps is allowing organizers to move forward with plans to expand the camps in future years.
"We know we want to be back in the Quad-Cities next year, but we hope to add at least one and maybe two more camps across in the state," Hughes said. "We've learned a lot to get to this point, but we also know there is good support for the Hawks all over Iowa."
If you go
What: Legends of Iowa football camp, social and silent auction
Notable Hawkeyes commited: Chad Greenway, Tavian Banks, Tim Dwight, Tom Knight, Pat Angerer
Where: Isle of Capri Casino banquet hall, Bettendorf
When: Wednesday, July 6, 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $75 per person
Information and registration: legendsofiowa.com