IOWA CITY, Iowa — Former University of Iowa quarterback Wilburn Hollis passed away on Thursday at the age of 83. No public services will be held.
Hollis played quarterback for the Hawkeyes from 1959-61 and was one of the first African Americans to earn All-America accolades. He was recognized as a second-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honoree in 1960. He scored 68 points his junior campaign, the most scored by a Hawkeye since 1922. Against Wisconsin, he threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 52 seconds remaining in a 28-21 victory. That performance earned him National Back of the Week honors from the Associated Press and elevated the Hawkeyes to the No. 1 national ranking after the win. Iowa spent three weeks at No. 1 and won a share of the Big Ten title with an 8-1 record.
A team captain in 1961, his senior season was cut short due to a season-ending injury. Hollis scored two touchdowns and threw for two touchdowns his sophomore season in 1959.
Hollis was born in Mississippi. He lived at Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska from age nine under the competition of high school, where he excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track. In 1957, he led his football team to an undefeated season and was named on a scholastic All-American team. Hollis was recruited by Coach Forest Evashevski.