Chuck Long spent six seasons as Bob Stoops’ quarterback coach and/or offensive coordinator. He returned to Norman more than a year ago, after coaching at San Diego State (head coach) and Kansas (offensive coordinator), to enjoy his son Zach’s senior season at Norman High. Long’s father, Charlie, grew up in Norman and played on Norman High’s 1955 state champion basketball team. Long’s grandfather once was mayor of Norman.
So Chuck Long has lots of Norman ties. And yet, during his years here, I don’t think we ever appreciated what an icon Long is at the University of Iowa, where Long was a quarterback star in the early 1980s, a four-year starter and the 1985 runnerup to Bo Jackson in what at the time was the closest vote in Heisman Trophy history. Long left Iowa with an NCAA-record 10,461 passing yards.
But now we are starting to understand what Charlie Long’s son means in Iowa City. Saturday, when the Hawkeyes open their season against Northern Illinois, Iowa football will induct nine men for the inaugural class of the Kinnick Stadium Wall of Honor. Only three of the nine men are living. Larry Station, Randy Duncan and Chuck Long. The six who will be inducted posthumously are 1939 Heisman winner Nile Kinnick, Aubrey Devine, Calvin Jones, Alex Karras, Gordon Locke and Duke Slater.
“To be part of that nine-man group in the history of Iowa football, it’s a great honor,” Long told the Des Moines Regiter said. “We were at a golden age of Iowa football. This honor is a culmination of those great teams we had.”
Long appears to have left coaching for good. He recently moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is a business development executive for Holmes Murphy. “I just turned 50,” Long told the Register, “and what better way to spend the second half of your life than in a great state, with great people.”
Long also is doing analysis for the Big Ten Network and will call the Iowa-Northern Illinois game.
Long is Iowa’s Jack Mildren. The quarterback who held the reins as the Hawkeyes entered a renaissance period. A great, great quarterback whose legacy is cherished by a devoted fan base.