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Iowa History Daily: November 11 - Eddie Anderson's Football Life

Iowa History Daily: On November 11, 1900, legendary football player and coach Eddie Anderson was born in Oskaloosa. A standout at Mason City High School, Anderson went on to star as first team All-American at Notre Dame before eventually going on to coach the Hawkeyes. Anderson made the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971

Anderson spent his earliest years in Mahaska County before his family moved across the state to settle in Cerro Gordo County. An exceptional athlete at Mason City High School, Anderson drew the attention of legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne. As a senior, he gained distinction as a consensus first team All-American and served as the team captain for 1921. In his final three years at Notre Dame, the Irish posted a record of 28–1, with the only loss coming 10-7 to the Iowa Hawkeyes during 1921.

Anderson played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the Rochester Jeffersons in 1922 and the Chicago Cardinals from 1922 to 1925, but his real mark on the game came from coaching. From 1922 to 1924, Anderson coached at Columbia College (now Loras College) in Dubuque while guiding the team to an undefeated season and an overall record of 16-6-1.

After stints coaching at DePaul University and Holy Cross, the University of Iowa hired Anderson as the 15th head football coach in Hawkeye history during 1939. Taking over for Irl Tubbs who drove the program so low the school announced they would drop football following the 1939 season, Anderson took over and developed the legendary “Ironmen” team of 1939. The 1939 Hawkeyes, nicknamed the "Ironmen", would become one of the greatest teams in school history and certainly the most romanticized. Led by Nile Kinnick, the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, the Hawkeyes put together a 6–1–1 record, the best overall record in the Big Ten.

Given a Cadillac by Iowa fans and a bonus by the university for his performance to turn around the Hawks during the 1939 season, Amana Refrigeration by CEO George Foerstner also awarded Anderson with company stock. A medical doctor by trade, Anderson worked at the University of Iowa Hospital in the morning before coaching the team in the afternoons. After serving in World War II in the US Army Medical Corps, Anderson returned to again lead the Hawkeyes. Inducted into the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 1962 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971, Anderson left an indelible mark on Iowa. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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