What if I told you that the story yo've never heard, would be the one you'd always remember.
THIS IS ONE is a series of documentaries, that highlight Iowa Hawkeye legends whose stories you may have never heard...
THIS IS ONE is created by, BDP film Enterprises LLC, In conjunction with, The Ann Early Intervention Foundation. The goal is to make meaningful films, which will raise money to help stop Alzheimers and Dementia .
A Marine turned football coach creates a winning tradition wherever he goes. He builds character, and is a mentor to young men. His courage is tested in 1965 when he gives a scholarship to a high school football star who happens to be Black. Together, the two would help reshape the landscape of college football history in the south.
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As a 12-year-old slave, James Holbrook escapes from his captors and runs to the safety of the Union Army. He becomes a valet for Captain Dylan and serves in the Union until the end of the Civil War. After the War, Captain Dylan invites James to accompany him back to his hometown of Iowa City. After moving to Tipton Iowa, James marries Pinky. The couple has a son who they name Frank “Kinney’’ Holbrook. Little did they know that as a young man, Kinney would grow to love sports. He attends Tipton High School and becomes a two-sport athlete, participating in Football and Track. After a successful high school career, Kinney graduates from Tipton High. His plan is to attend the University of Iowa where he would continue participating in the two sports that he loves. The family comes to the realization that they can't afford to send Kinney to college. To the Holbrook's great surprise, the townspeople of Tipton rally around them, raising enough money to send Kinney to college. In 1895, with no head coach, the Hawkeye football program is in jeopardy of being canceled after the team has a dismal 2-5 season. In 1896, the University hires Alfred E. Bull, who helps right the ship. Coach Bull moves Kinney from End to Half Back as the team begins to build a winning tradition, with Kinney leading the way. Little does Kinney know that the 1896 Iowa vs. Missouri game would carve a place for him in Iowa Hawkeye history as the Hawkeyes win their first conference title. His efforts would also pave the way for every African-American player that would follow him. The Shoulders Of Giants is the first in the series which focuses on sports history.
EPISODE 1 TRAILER football history, sports history
George Roddy was the first African-American to play for the Iowa golf team in the early 1930s. As a junior in 1930, Roddy shot a Finkbine-record 72 in a dual meet against Minnesota to lead the Hawkeyes to victory. The following year, he shot a 73 in a dual meet against DePaul to help hand the Blue Demons their first loss in two seasons. But Roddy was banned from the Big Ten Championship meets in 1930 and 1931, because the courses where the meets were held did not allow Black golfers. When his career was finished, the Des Moines Register called Roddy “the best Iowa golfer of all time.”
Ted Wheeler was an outstanding distance runner for Iowa in the 1950s, when Black track athletes were typically limited to sprinting events. Wheeler was an All-American in cross country in 1955 and the Hawkeyes’ team captain. He won Big Ten championships in the indoor and outdoor 880-yard runs and in the outdoor one-mile run in 1956. Wheeler was a U.S. Olympic team member in the 1500-meter run in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. Decades later, he became Iowa’s first Black head coach in any sport when he was hired as the school’s head track and cross country coach in 1978.
Benson-Quaziena came to the University of Iowa in the early 1970s because it had one of the best physical education departments in the country. She played basketball and field hockey, and when several women’s sports were elevated to varsity status in 1974-75, Benson-Quaziena became the first Black female letterwinner at Iowa as a member and co-captain of the field hockey team. But women played club sports at Iowa for decades before they were officially considered varsity sports. Emma Williams was one of those women, a Black athlete who competed in basketball and softball for the Hawkeyes from 1972-74, just before those sports were elevated to varsity status.
Simon Roberts was the first Black wrestler to win an Iowa State High School wrestling title, capturing the state championship in 1954 at 133 pounds. Roberts defeated Ron Gray of Eagle Grove High School in the final, scoring a takedown in the last ten seconds of the match to win, 3-1. Three years later, Roberts was wrestling for the University of Iowa and advanced to the 1957 NCAA Finals at 147 pounds. Roberts faced Gray again, with Gray wrestling for the Iowa State Cyclones. Roberts defeated Gray in the national championship match, becoming the first Black wrestler to win an NCAA Division I individual wrestling title.