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Catching up with: Matt Whitaker

[ 0 ] November 17, 2012 |

Matt Whitaker is feeling pretty good these days, but it has nothing to do with rehashing Iowa football’s glory days, of which he was a part between 1989 and ’92. He’s a partner in the Whitaker Hagenow & Gustoff Law Firm in Des Moines, and just recently was on the winning side against the Federal Government.

“Beat my old office,” Whitaker said.

He spent five years as the U.S. Attorney for Iowa’s Southern District before resigning after Democrat Barack Obama succeeded Republican George W. Bush in the White House. Now, he’s in private practice.

“I enjoyed being U.S. Attorney, but I do like the freedom and independence that my own law firm brings,” Whitaker said.

How does he enjoy that freedom?

“I’ve coached tackle football, volleyball, flag football, baseball and soccer,” Whitaker, 43, said of ways he hangs out with his children. “I love coaching my kids and their sports.”

He coaches, but he doesn’t wear the dark glasses and white pants his former coach, Hayden Fry, wore on the sidelines.

“Playing for coach Fry taught me a lot of life lessons,” Whitaker said. “It’s almost a cliché to say you learn lessons while playing competitive athletics, but you do. You work hard, you stick with what you’re doing, and if you do that, then you’re usually successful.”

What’s next on the bucket list?

After playing football, marrying his college sweetheart, losing a 2002 state treasurer election, becoming U.S. Attorney, climbing to Mount Everest base camp, and serving on the committee that helped hire Iowa athletic director Gary Barta, Whitaker seemingly has lived a fairly full life.

“That question has stumped me since I wasn’t U.S. Attorney anymore,” Whitaker said. “I’ve always had aggressive goals, so there’s probably something out there. I just don’t know what it is yet.”

About those Hawkeyes?

“We now have the facilities to compete,” said Whitaker, who played on Iowa’s last Rose Bowl team in 1991. “Now we have to win the close games.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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