A $10 million gift from a Quad-City couple will endow the head football coaching position at Iowa and create a new fund to benefit the Hawkeye football program and other athletics initiatives at the university.
Will and Renee Moon of Bettendorf, whose family owns and operates the Iowa 80 Truckstop near Walcott, have made one of the largest donations the Iowa athletics department has ever received, a gift that will benefit Hawkeye programs in a number of ways.
“We’ve had the pleasure to know Will and Renee for many years now and they’re humble, hardworking people who are both really accomplished at what they set out to do,’’ Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said Monday.
“Their support of the program is so helpful to us. Their gift will help us give our players the top-notch academic experience and the top-notch competitive experience we hope to give them.’’
The Will and Renee Moon Excellence Fun will endow the head football coaching position at Iowa in perpetuity, with coach Kirk Ferentz and any coach who follows to be known formally as the Moon Family Head Football Coach.
Iowa officials say the gift from the Moon family includes $5 million for the endowment fund to support the football program, $3 million to support football and other athletics initiatives as determined by the director of athletics and $2 million to the Kinnick Edge project that funded construction of a new north end zone grandstand and amenities at Kinnick Stadium.
Director of athletics Gary Barta described the Moon family as “passionate Hawkeyes,’’ adding that “everytime we have had a need, they have stepped up and helped out. We’re so grateful.’’
Will and Renee Moon are both University of Iowa graduates, Will receiving his undergraduate degree in 1983 and Renee following her undergraduate degree in 1984 with a degree from the university’s College of Dentistry in 1988.
In statements, Will and Renee Moon indicated they chose to make the donation because the quality of coaches and student-athletes they have interacted with over time and the impression those individuals have made on them.
They cited a desire to support that program at a time when times are challenging.
“We don’t need our name to be out there,’’ Renee Moon said. “We’re doing this because we enjoy the Hawkeye football program and we are doing it for them. When we can do ‘Back in Black’ again, I want to be there.’’
The endowment of the head football coaching position is the third for a position within the Iowa department of athletics.
Iowa announced the endowment of its women’s basketball coaching position earlier this month and its director of athletics position was endowed in 2017.