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Wilburn Hollis (November 12, 1940 in Pontotoc County, Mississippi) was a college football player for the University of Iowa from 1959–1961 and one of the first African-Americans to earn All-American honors at quarterback. He led the Hawkeyes to a Big Ten championship as a junior in 1960 and was named a second team All-American that season.

BackgroundEdit

Wilburn Hollis was born in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, but moved to Boys Town, Nebraska, at age 10. At Boys Town, Hollis played football, basketball, baseball, and track.[1] He was recruited to Iowa by Coach Forest Evashevski and arrived in Iowa City in 1958.

Playing careerEdit

After sitting behind Olen Treadway as a sophomore in 1959, Hollis ascended to the starting quarterback position as a junior and helped lead Iowa to one of its most successful seasons.[2] Against Wisconsin in 1960, Hollis threw the winning touchdown pass to Sammie Harris with only 52 seconds remaining in a 28-21 victory.[3] That performance earned him National Back of the Week honors from the Associated Press, and Iowa was elevated to the No. 1 ranking in the nation after the win. Iowa spent three weeks at No. 1 and won a share of the Big Ten title with an 8-1 record.[4]

Wilburn Hollis scored 68 points in 1960, the most points scored at Iowa by a single player since 1922. He was an all-Big Ten selection and a second team All-American as a junior.[5]

Iowa began Hollis’ senior season in 1961 as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in preseason. Hollis led Iowa to a win in the opening game, rushing for 124 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-7 victory.[6] However, Hollis fractured his right wrist in the second game of the season, and his Iowa career came to a premature end.[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Boys Town story
  2. Hawkeye Greats, By the Numbers, by Lyle Hammes and Neal Rozendaal, Page 101 (ISBN 1-426-94303-2)
  3. Hawkeye Legends, Lists, & Lore, by Mike Finn & Chad Leistikow, Page 113 (ISBN 1-57167-178-1)
  4. Hawkeye Greats, By the Numbers, by Lyle Hammes and Neal Rozendaal, Page 101 (ISBN 1-426-94303-2)
  5. 75 Years With The Fighting Hawkeyes, by Bert McCrane & Dick Lamb, Page 245 (ASIN: B0007E01F8)
  6. Hawkeye Legends, Lists, & Lore, by Mike Finn & Chad Leistikow, Page 114 (ISBN 1-57167-178-1)
  7. Hawkeye Greats, By the Numbers, by Lyle Hammes and Neal Rozendaal, Page 101 (ISBN 1-426-94303-2)
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