Iowa's Ferentz praises example set by Duke Slater

May 10—The Duke Slater Statue and Scholarship Committee hosted their Kirk Ferentz Luncheon at The Church at Lyons on Thursday afternoon.

After lunch, committee members Ted Tornow and Gary Delacy spoke about the Duke Slater statue being built outside of Clinton High School in hopes of inspiring students.

Neal Rozendaal, a Hawkeye Historian and the biographer for Duke Slater, spoke about the life of Slater, emphasizing that he is the only person to be in the Iowa High School Athletic Association Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame and the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

Then it was Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz's turn to take the podium, beginning his speech by updating the crowd and media about where his football program is at with both quarterback Cade McNamara as well as the change in offensive coordinator.

Ferentz then began telling a story about Duke Slater from the book "The Way of Nile C. Kinnick Jr.: Insights, Images, and Stories of Iowa's 1939 Heisman Trophy Winner."

In this story, Slater encouraged the 1938 Hawkeyes to embrace the college experience and referenced that not many schools during that time accepted black athletes. Slater also conveyed another message that you control your fate.

"When you have people like Duke Slater and Niles Kinnick, that's what college is about. Get an education, get the start and start trying to build a foundation for your life," Ferentz said. "If you can achieve on the field like those two people then that's just extra. What he [Duke Slater] did on the field is almost unheard of."

Clinton High School will unveil the statue at the first home football game on Friday, Sept. 6.

"I think this is such a great cause to have this statue out in front of the high school here in Clinton," Ferentz said. "I also think it was great of the University of Iowa to name the field after him almost three years ago."