Iowa football radio broadcasters Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak waiting for return to booth

With Big Ten football still on the shelf for the foreseeable future, veteran broadcasters Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak adjust to an extended offseason from Iowa football.

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Nick Rohlman

Iowa play-by play radio announcer Gary Dolphin interviews UI president Bruce Harreld and athletic director Gary Bartaduring the Hawkeye Huddle event in Tampa, Florida on Monday, December 31, 2018.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter


Football has kicked off across the country, but the Hawkeyes and other Big Ten institutions remain waiting at the starting gate, still uncertain of when their race will start.

With no Iowa football so far this fall, the Kinnick Stadium broadcast booth has remained empty, as veteran radio broadcasters Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak spend an extended offseason away from Iowa City.

“I think that’s a reason I chose to make the drive home [Saturday], was so I didn’t have to watch football,” Podolak said. “It’s really going to be difficult, and I am just hoping we get a breakthrough [soon].”

The former Kansas City Chiefs running back and Hawkeye alum has been patiently waiting from his home in Colorado for word on when Big Ten football might start.

“I still firmly believe that the Big Ten will play starting sometime in October,” Podolak said. “I think now that you see the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 ramping up along with the ACC and Notre Dame, [the Big Ten] has got to figure out a way to do it.”

The play-by-play voice of Iowa football and men’s basketball, Gary Dolphin, said he thinks that while a late October start seems possible, a mid-November start is more likely to him.

The veteran broadcaster is going into his 24th year behind the microphone in Kinnick Stadium and is itching to get back to commentating Iowa football games.

RELATED: Local businesses feeling the effects of no Iowa football games

“It’s quite a void,” Dolphin said. “I feel terrible for the kids, really bad for the coaches, and I feel terrible for the season-ticket-paying, hardworking fans who have been there with the Hawks through good years and bad.”

When Dolphin and Podolak eventually get back in the booth this year, it will likely be in an empty or partially filled stadium. Dolphin, who thrives off of the energy of the crowd, said it will be a huge difference for him because Kinnick Stadium and the venues across the Big Ten are some of the loudest in America.

After broadcasting for the Hawkeyes, NBC, and ESPN, playing nine years in the NFL and three for Iowa, it is hard for Podolak to remember the last time he hasn’t performed with a crowd around him.

“It will certainly be unique because from all the way back to playing in high school, playing at Iowa, and all of these years of announcing, you are doing it in a crowded stadium,” Podolak said. “We will just have to go with the flow, and I’m sure it will certainly increase our listening audience quite a bit.”

While he might not be giving the play-by-play for Iowa football in the coming weeks, Dolphin’s schedule this fall is far from empty. Dolphin said he and head football coach Kirk Ferentz have created a series called Hawkeye Rewind to fill the empty space on Saturdays, where they will be narrating and commenting over reruns of historic Iowa football games.

Even so, the question of when Iowa football will start remains at the forefront of his mind every day.

“It’s what I do,” Dolphin said. “I mean I love Iowa football. To think that we could possibly go through a fall without a Hawkeye game in Kinnick Stadium is just not right, but you know what, neither is the pandemic.”

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