Presentation by Jake Edenburn

Nile Kinnick is one of the best college football players to play in a collegiate football game. Even though he was a great athlete, he was an even better person.

Nile Kinnick was a collegiate icon back in the late 1930s'.

Bill Cunningham of the Boston Post wrote, "This country's okay as long as it produces Nile Kinnicks. The football part is incidental."


Nile Kinnick was born in Adele, Iowa on July 9th, 1918. Kinnick's uncle was governor of Iowa from 1912-1916. During high school Kinnick's family moved to Omaha, Nebraska because his father got a job there. Later on Adele Named their high school after Nile Kinnick.

College recruiting

After high school Kinnick was recruited to go play for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, but

the problem was they were a collegiate powerhouse at that time. He tried out for them and they said he was too small and slow.

Kinnick was always one to help others, so he decided to go to a struggling Iowa Hawkeyes.

In his freshman year, Kinnick played football and basketball for Iowa's freshman team.

In his junior year he was playing with an ankle injury that was believed to be a broken ankle. He never received treatment because he didn't believe in that stuff.

1939 Season

1939 was Kinnick's breakout season. He played 402 minutes out of 420, he won the Big Ten MVP, and most importantly he won the Heisman Trophy.

Nile Kinnick was the first Iowa player to win the Heisman trophy, and he's been the only one since.

After College

Kinnick was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers, and was offered $1000 a game. He turned down that offer and decided to attend law school. After law school he decided to enroll in the Naval Air Service.

In the Navy

Kinnick trained to be a fighter pilot for the Naval Air Service. On June 2nd, 1943 everything changed.

June 2nd, 1943

On June 2nd, 1943 Kinnick was on a routine training flight off the coast of Venezuela. After about an hour in the plane he noticed a very bad oil leak.


He was going to crash land if he wasn't going to do anything about it. He didn't have enough oil to reach the Lexington where he took off from, so he took military procedure by landing in the water and waiting for someone to find him.


Nobody came in time to find his body or his plane. By now, his body is probably decompose by now, but his plane has never been found.


He was known as the best football player to ever play football for the University of Iowa. He was the first, and only player to win the Heisman for the Hawkeyes.


1939 Heisman Trophy winner, Maxwell trophy, Walter Camp Memorial, and the honor to be named an All-American. He also had Iowa's football stadium, and at every BigTen football game the coin used

at the coin toss has an image of Kinnick on it, and is given to every BigTen team captain at the end of the year.

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Nile Kinnick

by edenbjac


Public - 11/11/16, 6:51 PM