Cedar Rapids Native Marked End of an Era
He was crucial to the media telling the story of Hawkeye sports for decades. Last Friday night, he was the story.
Phil Haddy worked in the Sports Information Department at the University of Iowa for 41 years. He spent 17 of those as the full-time head of the department before slowly working his way to full retirement beginning in 2010. Even following his retirement from sports information, there was one thing Phil never stopped doing... the public address announcing at Iowa home wrestling meets.
Haddy first took the public address microphone during a tournament in the summer of 1971, when then-announcer William “Bud” Suter wanted to grab some lunch. That was it. Suter was so impressed with Haddy's style that he put in a good word for him, and Phil took over the job for the 1971-72 season. What a run it would be.
Consider this: Iowa has won 23 national championships in wrestling, the first in 1975. Haddy has been behind the public-address microphone for Iowa home meets for every one of those championship seasons. Last Friday night, he said farewell inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena and the crowd, and officials, showed their appreciation.
Haddy's final meet was a great one as Iowa dominated Minnesota.
Phil grew up in Cedar Rapids and graduated from Cedar Rapids Washington. After attending North Iowa Junior College, now NIACC, he graduated from the University of Iowa. He started his career in both radio and television at KCRG and as a graduate teaching assistant in broadcast journalism at Iowa. In 1971, he started work in Iowa's Sports Information Department.
This week, Haddy told The Predicament his favorite time was, “The 1980-81 years we went to the Rose Bowl with Fry, we went to the Final Four with Lute Olson and we won a national title in wrestling. It was truly an honor going to work with that group every day. My job was what many people call their passion — going to the University of Iowa athletic events.”
Phil most often was the man behind press releases, standing alongside players and coaches when they were interviewed on television, or who you would contact with a statistical question. He and the Sports Information Department would find you the answer, just as they still do so well (just this week, for me). Once in a while, though, Phil's passion would be visible to the world. Such was the case in 1985 when Chuck Long ran the naked bootleg for a game-winning touchdown against Michigan State. The man waiting for Chuck, with arms outstretched to hug him, is Phil Haddy.
Thank you for everything you've done for Hawkeye sports Phil and for the excitement you've brought to Iowa wrestling. We'll miss your booming, "TWO" every time Iowa gets a takedown inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.