DIY – Nile Clarke Kinnick

Korena Olson

Harrison Dietzman


15 October 2015

Nile Kinnick

Historical analysis:

For one who attends the University of Iowa, the name Nile Kinnick is well known. His very image rest on our holy ground, in which was named in his honor, Kinnick Stadium. Here, the Iowa Hawkeyes play the game that made this man our hero.

Luckily for our Hawkeyes, after consideration with Minnesota, Nile Kinnick decided to continue his education and play football at the University of Iowa because “…the campus ‘is almost like home to me’” said Kinnick, according to Ron Flatter, author of “Everybody’s All-America” as published on the ESPN Classic website. His very own high school coach, Verle Davis, quoted, “Kinnick was determined to go to some school that was down… He didn’t want to go to Minnesota, because they were on top… He finally went to Iowa as he figured they were at their lowest ebb.”

While attending Iowa, Nile Kinnick was not just any student athlete who came through campus just to play. He gave the sport and life a meaning, not just as everyone’s sports hero, but a real role model in life. Unlike all stereotypes one may have about athletes, Nile C. Kinnick was also an involved student on campus. He became a member of Iowa’s Greek Fraternity and Sorority life as a brother in Phi Beta Kappa, maintaining a 3.4 GPA, while also playing baseball and basketball, and quite possibly winning every trophy and award that a football player can receive.

One of his most famous moments was his beautifully said acceptance speech for the legendary Heisman Trophy. After speaking so humbley about his team and speaking as he had many times before (just as fine as every time before), Nile Kinnick so admirably added,  “I thank God I was warring on the gridirons of the Midwest and not on the battlefields of Europe.  I can speak confidently and positively that the players of this country would much more, much rather, struggle and fight to win the Heisman award than the Croix de Guerre,” published on “Hawkeyes Revisited: Nile Kinnick” by the Neal Rozendaal website.

In Nile Kinnick’s time of service as a naval fighter, he was doing a basic training flight routine over Venezuela where trouble occured. His plane had gotten a severe oil leak and he was over the water, unable to get to land or the “USS Lexington, whose flight deck was in any case crowded with planes preparing for launch.” (Neal Rozendaal). Following military procedure, he was given no choice but to pursue an emergency landing in the Caribbean. At age 24, mister Nile Clarke Kinnick Jr. went down in history as America’s hero.

Rhetorical analysis:

The piece of text in which I transcribed was a brief description of Nile Kinnick and his career. It was an informational piece of text in which was used to apprise the reader of Nile Clarke Kinnick Jr. and his most famous moments. This information was placed before pages in which contained letters to Nile Kinnick’s parents, Nile Clark Kinnick Sr. and Frances Kinnick, notifying them that they wanted to name a Navy school in Yokohama, Japan in honor of their son. The piece of writing about Nile Clarke Kinnick Jr. was enlightening the highlights of their brave son.

The most prevalent rhetorical device is ethos. Because the text is so short and factual, I believe that it was to argue to the reader what kind of person Kinnick was. By describing his patriotism by reasoning his tragic death, by plane, from crash landing his aircraft into the Caribbean, this creates decorum for the audience. This is, in fact, decorum because this makes Nile Kinnick seem like a trustworthy leader for his brave act and service to our country. According to Jay Heinrichs, author of “Thank You for Arguing”, this can also fall into ethos by the halo which is a way to “…find a representative or piece of the issue that an symbolize those values,” (page 375).

Ethos is continued to be applied when the text goes on by telling the reader of all of his collegiate sports accomplishments. This is part of the “needs test” (Heinrichs, page 376) if the reader is interested in reading more about Nile Clarke Kinnick simply because he was successful on the field, as well as in the classroom. By mentioning his class achievements and the fact that he was also able to juggle being in a fraternity, this is a way of storytelling with pathos. Pathos, according to Heinrichs, is “mak[ing] an audience more receptive to your logic, and give them an emotional commitment to your goal,” (377).

The most important tool used is emotion. Because this article is bragging about Nile Kinnick, only to further reason why this school in Japan should be named after him, in his honor and death for his Naval service, this identity strategy helps us understand that the emphasis really is on the fact that Nile Clarke Kinnick Jr. deserves all of the praise is has received and will continue to receive.


This project turned out to really interest me. I usually dislike doing research, simply for the fact that it takes so long and it is tough to get started and get on a good pace. Once I found myself going on researching Nile Clarke Kinnick Jr., it was easy and interesting. He was a man with a lot of passion and talent. I liked that he was not just another athlete, but also a great student and went on to become an American hero.

Because I ended up enjoying who I researched, my historical analysis was easy to do. There was so much information to add. It also became no challenge to invest myself in the rhetorical analysis because the article in which I transcribed meant more to me because I knew so much about Nile Kinnick.

What I found to become lengthy and rather annoying was having to keep on adding to the project. Making a powerpoint in order to present my research and analysis made more sense to me than also having to make a video and put together my essay and video within a blog post. It just ended up being very repetitive and started to seem irrelevant.

Works Cited

Chapman, Mike. “IRONMAN: The Nile Kinnick Story -.” Iowa History Journal. Iowa Publishing Corp, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

“DIY History | Transcribe | Nile Kinnick Collection | Nile C. Kinnick High School in Japan Correspondence and Photographs, 1960-1968 | 1960-04: Page 01.” DIY History | Transcribe | Nile Kinnick Collection | Nile C. Kinnick High School in Japan Correspondence and Photographs, 1960-1968 | 1960-04: Page 01. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.

Flatter, Ron. “Everybody’s All America.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

“Hawkeyes Revisited: Nile Kinnick.” Neal Rozendaal. Flex Squeeze, 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.

“NILE C.” NILE C KINNICK HISTORY. Nile C. Kinnick High School, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.