UI archivist recalls Iowa’s five previous visits to Pasadena
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New Year’s Day 2016 marks the Hawkeyes’ sixth Rose Bowl appearance. The first, on Jan. 1, 1957, occurred just a few months after Old Gold was born. You do the arithmetic.

Each season leading up to Iowa’s visit to Pasadena has its own narrative. A standout game in 1985, for example, was No. 1 Iowa’s win over No. 2 Michigan on Oct. 19. Rob Houghtlin kicked the game-winning field goal as time ran out, and the Hawkeyes prevailed, 12–10, capping a final-possession drive led by quarterback Chuck Long.

Old Gold remembers the moment he learned that Iowa was Rose Bowl–bound in 1982. It was a grey Sunday afternoon in December 1981. He was driving from his parents’ home in Charles City, Iowa, back to his home in Janesville, Wisconsin, where he worked at the time, when WMT radio’s Leo Greco made the announcement, followed by a rousing arrangement of “California, Here I Come!” Old Gold was a fan of big band music, even at the tender age of 25.

The list of Iowa’s Rose Bowl appearances spans nearly six decades, and a quarter-century has passed since the Hawkeyes’ last trip to Pasadena. Forest Evashevski coached Iowa’s 1950s-era matchups; Hayden Fry coached the other three.

1959 Rose Bowl souvenirs

Game programs and other souvenirs commemorate these events in the University Archives. The 1959 Rose Bowl is particularly well documented, thanks to a 1976 gift from alumnus Vernon Lustick (B.A. '60), of Cedar Rapids, who collected decals, event schedules, tour ticket stubs, menus from the Santa Fe Railroad dining car en route to California, a cardboard megaphone, and, of course, his game ticket (tunnel 18, row 14, seat 118). The mementos add up to one alumnus’s memoir of an unforgettable experience.

Here is a list of scores from Iowa's Rose Bowl appearances:

  • Jan. 1, 1957: Iowa 35, Oregon State 19
  • Jan. 1, 1959: Iowa 38, California 12
  • Jan. 1, 1982: Washington 28, Iowa 0
  • Jan. 1, 1986: UCLA 45, Iowa 28
  • Jan. 1, 1991: Washington 46, Iowa 34

We appreciate a chance to remember and enjoy these times past, but even more rewarding is the chance to create new memories. Regardless of the outcome of Rose Bowl 2016 (Old Gold is writing this in mid-December), new memories will be added to the University Archives.

Black and white image of UI marching band posing at Disneyland in 1959.
When Iowa went to the Rose Bowl in 1959, the UI marching band had a chance to make some memories at Disneyland. Image courtesy of the F.W. Kent Collection of Photographs, Colleges and Departments Series, "Music" folder, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, UI Libraries.