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Passing of former Iowa SID George Wine leaves ‘gigantic void’

[ 3 ] July 5, 2012 |
Steve Roe, Phil Haddy and George Wine

University of Iowa Hawkeyes vs the University of Pittsburgh Panthers at Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 17, 2011. The Hawkeyes won with a final score of 34-27.

Former Iowa sports information director George Wine was always there; chomping on a toothpick and chronicling the golden age of Hawkeyes athletics.

Wine helped chart the Rose Bowl trips by Hayden Fry, the multitude of NCAA titles won by Dan Gable, and the Final Four trips by Lute Olson and C. Vivian Stringer.

“Any way you look at it, that was the golden era in Iowa athletics as has ever been, and maybe ever will,” recently retired Iowa SID Phil Haddy said. “This leaves a gigantic void in Hawkeye nation.”

Wine, who served as Iowa’s sports information director from 1968 to 1993, died early Thursday morning of a heart attack. He was 81.

“George would help in terms of what to do and how to do it,” former Iowa men’s basketball coach Tom Davis said. “That’s a great advantage to a coach, to have that kind of guidance in your job.”

Wine was president of the College Sports Information Directors of America in 1991 and 1992 and was inducted into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame in 1985.

“You could tell immediately upon talking to and meeting him that he was a real professional,” Davis said. “He understood the profession and how it worked. He was always on top of things.”

He was inducted into the Hawkeyes’ National Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 2000 and was in the first class of Kinnick Stadium’s Wall of Fame in 2006.

“He always gave us first-class treatment when he made sure our sport was covered,” Gable said. “I always appreciated that a lot.”

His license plate read “2ND SID.” Wine took the sports information director title from Eric Wilson in 1968. (It later passed to Haddy and recently to Steve Roe.) There have only been four SIDs in Iowa history.

Wine previously worked at Memphis State and before that Northern Iowa (then known as the Iowa State Teachers College and State College of Iowa).

Wine earned his journalism degree at Iowa in 1956, and Haddy said Wine jumped at the chance to return to his alma mater.

Former Iowa athletics director Bump Elliott said Wine did a great job of handling the assortment of strong personalities that coached the Hawkeyes over his 25 years.

“That was an interesting balancing act,” Elliott said. “Each of them had their own way of doing things.”

In retirement, Wine co-wrote Fry’s autobiography “High Porch Picnic” and “Black & Gold Memories: The Hawkeyes of the 20th Century.”

“He was definitely a man of information and history,” Gable said.

The Register’s Bryce Miller and Rick Brown contributed to this story.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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