Spirit of the Season--Fans turn out to cheer Hawkeye winter sports

It may not always be easy to be a Hawkeye, especially when it entails venturing out into the chilly darkness of winter, but it’s always great to be a Hawkeye. Fans came out in full force this year to support their teams — and it was an exciting season:

  • The men’s basketball scored key victories over ranked opponents and returned to postseason play for the first time since 2006, drawing a bid to the NIT.
  • The women’s basketball team finished the season in a four-way tie for second place in the Big Ten with an 11-5 record, and was invited to the NCAA tournament for the fifth year in a row.
  • The wrestlers continue to compete among the nation’s elite, earning in January Iowa’s 900th dual win in program history and sending eight qualifiers to the NCAA Championships in March.
  • The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams got to show off the new Campus Wellness and Recreation Center when they hosted the Big Ten Championships in February.
  • The No. 12 men’s gymnastics program will wrap up its season later in March, and the women’s gymnastics program hosts the Big Ten Championships on March 24.

Click on the thumbnails below to see a slide show of images of loyal Hawkeyes this past season — be they fans, student athletes, or coaches. To find out what’s coming up in Iowa sports, visit www.hawkeyesports.com.

photos by Bill Adams
and Tim Schoon

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Everybody gets into the spirit for a Hawkeye wrestling match —— even the coaches. Unfortunately, No. 1 Iowa lost to No. 2 Oklahoma State, 17-16, in this Jan. 7 dual. The Hawkeyes had not lost a dual since a 19-14 Oklahoma State decision Jan. 5, 2008.Despite losses, like this 76-47 rout by Ohio State on Jan. 7, the Hawkeye men’s basketball program is starting to generate enthusiasm and excitement at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.Iowa fans celebrate the men’s basketball team’s 75-59 victory over 13th-ranked Michigan on Jan. 14.The Iowa bench, including women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder (front, right), react to a play during the Hawkeyes’ 69-57 victory over Wisconsin Jan. 19.Hawkeye football players Christian Kirksey and Kevonte Martin-Manley were on hand at the Iowa men’s basketball game Jan. 26, but were unable to cheer the Hawks to victory. Iowa lost to Nebraska 79-73.

Basketball fans leave no doubt about their allegiances during the Iowa men’s 63-59 victory over Minnesota on Feb. 1.Ever since men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery came to campus in 2010, the student Hawkeye faithful has shown support by flashing a giant likeness of the coach’s head during home games. On Feb. 1, the Hawks rallied from a 10-point, second-half deficit to defeat Minnesota 63-59.Hawkeye fans revel in Iowa’s Feb. 1 second-half surge in which the men’s basketball team was able to overcome Minnesota and pick up a 63-59 victory.Senior swimmer Ryan Phelan gets high fives during the final dual swimming and diving meet of the season on Feb. 3. No. 14 Iowa hosted Western Illinois and came out with a 123-86 victory. Phelan, along with six of his Hawkeye teammates, will participate in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials this summer in Omaha.Former Iowa men’s basketball coach Tom Davis and the 1986-87 Hawkeye team, which 25 years ago won a school-record 30 games and advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament, were honored on the court before tipoff of the Feb. 4 game against Penn State. The current Hawkeyes, donning commemorative throwback jerseys, gave the crowd another reason to celebrate: a 77-64 victory.

The Hawkeye women’s swimming and diving team hosted the Big Ten Championships Feb. 15-18 at the Campus Wellness and Recreation Center — and broke school records in the 200-free relay and 500 free.Some men’s basketball fans were airborne with excitement during Iowa’s Feb. 19 takedown of No. 20 Indiana at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes beat the Hoosiers 78-66.Iowa cheerleader Julie Blumberg helps cultivate Hawkeye spirit in a young fan during Iowa’s 78-66 men’s basketball victory over Indiana on Feb. 19.Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery gets a celebratory hug from one of his sons after the Hawkeyes defeated 20th-ranked Indiana 78-66 on Feb. 19.The giant head of Coach McCaffery shows his face in the Hawks Nest during Iowa’s exciting 67-66 defeat of Wisconsin on Feb. 23.

Sophomore forward Melsahn Basabe celebrates with fans Feb. 23 after the men’s basketball team scored its second triumph of the year over Wisconsin. The 67-66 victory marked the Hawkeyes’ fourth win over a Top 25 team this season.A member of the Hawks Nest, student T.J. McCann, reacts with anguish to a play in the last minute of the Hawkeyes' 70-66 loss to Northwestern in the season finale March 3.A young basketball fan cheers on the Hawkeyes during the men’s season finale with Northwestern. Iowa lost the game 70-66.The Iowa men's basketball team hosted Dayton in the first round of the NIT. Despite the fact that the tournament game fell during spring break, Carver-Hawkeye Arena was nearly full, and the Hawks advanced with a 84-75 victory.


© The University of Iowa 2009