Former University of Iowa Sports Information Director and onetime "Voice of the Hawkeyes" columnist George Wine passed away early Thursday morning according to a press release issue from the school.
Wine was 81.
The North English native was the school's second Sports Information Director, serving in that capacity from 1968 to 1993. He maintained a presence at UI athletic events following his retirement and was often on press row for football, basketball and wrestling events.
Wine co-authored former Iowa football coach Hayden Fry's autobiography "Hayden Fry: A High Porch Picnic" and wrote Iowa-related content for several publications and outlets during his retirement. One of those publications was "Voice of the Hawkeyes" and Wine's columns were ultimately collected and put into book form. The end result was "Black and Gold Memories", which was released in 2003.
An original member of the Media Wall of Fame located inside the Kinnick Stadium press box, Wine came under fire last fall when he ranked Houston No. 5 in his Harris Poll vote ahead of an 11-1 Oklahoma State squad fresh off a 44-10 drubbing of a Top 10 Oklahoma team.
That's how George Wine will be remembered on the national level. At the local level he will be remembered by those who worked closely (and not so closely) with him during his time at Iowa and after it.
By the time I took over as editor of "Voice of the Hawkeyes" in 2003, Wine no longer contributed a regular column to the magazine. However, upon the passing of legendary VOTH columnist Al Grady, Wine graciously agreed to put into words his feelings on Grady's contributions both to our magazine as well as to the University of Iowa and his former employer, the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
When a beat writer or TV man needed to know a historical note or wanted context on an issue as it related to Iowa's past, Wine was one of the first people to turn to. As the Hawkeyes completed an improbable fourth quarter comeback against Pittsburgh last September by scoring it was Wine who knew the previous record, an 18-point rally against Oregon, occurred in 1949.
A love of sports and the news business ran in the family. Wine's son, Steve, has worked as an Associated Press reporter in South Florida since 1987.
Funeral arrangements are pending according to the school.