Thursday, June 01, 2006

Statue Of Nile Kinnick Nearing Completion. So Is Bob Bowlsby's Move To Stanford -- His 6-Bedroom Home Sells for More Than $1.4 Million Asking Price

Much like a football team nearing the end of a long off-season, artist Larry Nowlan is finishing his work in preparation for the upcoming football season.

In Nowlan's case, that means completing two of the final pieces of the two-year, $87 million Kinnick Stadium renovation: a statue of Hawkeye great Nile Kinnick and a large relief depicting Kinnick's famous touchdown [right] against Notre Dame.

The Iowa City-Press Citizen wrote that the 12-foot tall statue is currently at a foundry being bronzed and will be ready by Iowa's home opener Sept. 2 against Montana, Nowlan said.

He is now working on the second of three sections of the relief, about 20 feet wide and 10 feet high, which will not be done for the start of the season.

Nowlan, who lives in New Hampshire and has his studio in Vermont, said the statue would be shipped by truck to Iowa City in late August.

He has been working on the project since December, 2004 and said he spent every day for three or four months straight last fall on it. He called the experience "unbelievable."

"These are very big projects," said Nowlan, 41. "And along with that, you have an obligation to the people in Iowa. The unveiling is the icing on the cake."

Presumably, the statue will be in place for the Montana game. But university senior associate athletic director Jane Meyer said details of a rededication ceremony and statue unveiling were still being finalized.

No matter when Hawkeye fans get their first glimpse of the statue, she expects they'll like what they see.

"I think what we're looking at for the statue is for it to be the finishing piece for that plaza," she said, referring to the new gathering area on the 70,585-seat stadium's south side.

Kinnick is arguably Iowa's greatest player. He won college football's highest individual honor, the Heisman Trophy, in 1939, the only player from a university in Iowa ever to do so.

The Adel native graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was in law school when he enlisted in the Navy Air Corps Reserve. He died at 24 when his plane crashed off the Venezuelan coast June 2, 1943.

The statue will emphasize Kinnick's role as a student-athlete. The figure will be in trousers and a letter jacket with a textbook and notebook in his right hand and his No. 24 game jersey over his left shoulder.

"I tried to give the feeling of stability, determination, honor, with hints that he still stood to accomplish more," Nowlan said.

The relief shows 11 athletes and re-creates Kinnick's touchdown in Iowa's 7-6 victory over Notre Dame in 1939. It will go in the south concourse, Meyer said.

Nowlan said he heard countless Kinnick stories during a three-day visit to Iowa City in November 2004 that allowed him to appreciate how much the Hawkeye legend meant to fans.

"Even, actually, on the way home on the plane, I sat next to a guy who grew up in Iowa City and was about 12 when Kinnick played," Nowlan said. "And he told me Kinnick stories."

* * *

Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby can scratch one thing off his to-do list before moving to Stanford University.

Bowlsby said Wednesday that he has sold his house near Solon, which was listed at a cost of $1.45 million.

The home, which features six bedrooms, five baths and an outdoor swimming pool, was on the market less than a week and it sold for more than the listing price, wrote the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

"Yes, I was surprised and pleased," Bowlsby said of how quickly the house sold. "And yeah, it makes it a lot easier.

"Anybody who's ever owned two houses knows that it's not a comfortable feeling."

Bowlsby listed the house May 7 with Iowa Realty. It sold by the following Thursday.

Lou Ann Lathrop sold the house for Iowa Realty.

She said there were competing offers that made the cost of the house go above the listing price.

"It made me very happy," Lathrop said. "And it took some of the stress off him."

Lathrop said the sale is still pending until the financing is approved.

"We're still in the process, but it looks pretty good," she said.

Neither Bowlsby nor Lathrop would say who bought the house, which is located at 2594 Johnson's Crossing near Solon.

The house sits on 25 acres and features a three-car garage, a small fishing pond and hiking trails.

It was built in 1998 by H&H Home Builders of North Liberty.

The size of the house came in handy when all four of Bowlsby's children still lived at home. But that no longer is the case.

Bowlsby's two daughters live on the West Coast. His son, Matt, just graduated from Iowa, and his youngest child, son Kyle, graduated from City High last month and will attend Iowa in the fall.

"We've got a big house in the country that we either needed to board up the upstairs or open a bed and breakfast," Bowlsby said.

Lathrop said the size of the property helped the house sell quickly.

"It's a very nice, traditional home," she said. "And you also have 25 acres.

"The potential buyer could sell off part of the property and get some money back."

Bowlsby, 54, resigned as the Iowa athletic director earlier this month to become the athletic director at Stanford. His last day at Iowa is July 9.

Bowlsby is currently searching for a new house on the Stanford campus. The fact that he will live on campus will help cut the cost.

"Housing is probably seven or eight times more expensive than it is in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids," Bowlsby said. "But they've worked hard to take the sting out for us."