Iowa football hits the Clearwater beach

Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz addressed fans and received a key to the city of Clearwater at the Outback Bowl beach day.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz addresses fans during Outback Bowl Beach Day at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort in Clearwater, Florida on Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The day’s festivities included a variety of events for fans and general merrymaking.

Adam Hensley, Pregame Editor

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Sunday marked beach day for both the Iowa and Mississippi State football programs.

The teams took to the Clearwater beach for pep rallies, and fans got to experience other activities like cheerleader tug-of-war, sky divers, pie-eating contests, and live music.

Bulldog head coach Joe Moorhead spoke first at the pep rally, and he was gifted a key to the city along with a cowbell.

Next, Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz took the stage, where he addressed the swarm of Black and Gold crowding around.

“I want to say on behalf of everybody in our program, I appreciate all you guys being out here, and hopefully we put on a good game for you on Tuesday,” he said. “We appreciate you here, supporting the team. Hope you have a good time, and don’t break curfew.”

Clearwater mayor George Cretekos came on stage, expressing his gratitude to have Ferentz and the rest of the Hawkeye football team back in Tampa for the third time in six seasons. 

“Earlier this year before your first game against Northern Illinois, I was in Iowa City. I had a funny feeling I was going to see you all again,” he joked with Ferentz.

Cretekos went on to explain that he became captivated with the first quarter wave tradition when he saw it in person.

“I learned something when I was up there. And that was at the end of the first quarter, you all turn around and wave to the kids in the hospital,” he said. “We don’t have a hospital right here, but we have lots of fans in Iowa who would love to be out here where it’s 81 degrees instead of 27 degrees and snowing.”

Cretekos, Ferentz, and fans then waved to television cameras. Moments later, the mayor had two gifts for the coach: a dolphin figure in a Hawkeye jersey and a key to the city of Clearwater.

“We know you’ve been here many times,” Cretekos said. “This is your second home. So, we’re going to give you a key to the city.”

After handing the key to Ferentz, the mayor joked with the coach.

“We’ve changed the locks,” Cretekos said with a smile. “But we would trust you with our hearts.”

Iowa and Mississippi State kick things off in the 2019 Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 at 11 a.m. in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

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