Randy Duncan, the legendary Iowa quarterback who led the Hawkeyes to their last Rose Bowl victory and was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, died Tuesday night after battling cancer.
He was 79 years old.
“The word ‘legend’ is so often overused in sports, but in the case of Randy Duncan it fits perfectly,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in a release on the school’s athletic website. “He was one of the true Hawkeye legends, who served as an outstanding representative of Iowa football and the University of Iowa. A great family man, Randy was humble and caring, and lived life to the fullest. He was passionate and dedicated to his work and a great friend of Iowa football. Randy was a true hero to those who knew him due to his selflessness and dedication to his family and profession.”
Duncan played in the 1957 Rose Bowl, a 35-19 win over Oregon State, before becoming a starter for the 1957 and 1958 seasons.
After passing for 1,124 yards, 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 1957, Duncan threw for for 1,397 yards, 12 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 1958. He finished second in the Heisman voting to Army’s Pete Dawkins that season.
At the 1959 Rose Bowl, Duncan led the Hawkeyes to a 38-12 victory over California. It remains Iowa’s most recent Rose Bowl victory. Duncan went 15-2-2 in his two seasons as Iowa’s starting quarterback.
Duncan was the No. 1 overall pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 1959 NFL Draft but decided to start his career in the Canadian Football League, saying later he was offered more money to play in Canada.
After football, he became a lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997. He is survived by his wife, Paula, and sons Scott and Jed.