In 1989 the surviving Ironmen will return to the campus in Iowa City for the 50th anniversary of their team. They will be honored in the stadium named for the man whose memory they keep alive. He is like a friendly ghost to them. "I could not believe it when they said this indestructible man was dead," says Couppee. "I can't recall ever being more emotionally upset. I still find it hard to believe."
Those who knew him have long wondered what this exemplary human being might have accomplished. He had energy, ambition, intelligence, courage, sensitivity. "Offhand, it is hard to think of any good quality which Nile Kinnick did not possess in abundance," Eric C. Wilson wrote in The Daily Iowan after Kinnick's death. "And now he is gone, and his dreams with him," Whitney Martin of the AP wrote. "Why does war have to take such really human humans. It doesn't seem fair."
And yet, almost 50 years after his success, Nile Kinnick remains a presence on the green hills and riverbanks of the Iowa campus. He is not forgotten there, and that is only just, because he would never have forgotten it. "It is almost like home to me," he wrote a friend visiting there. "I love the campus, the people, the trees, everything about it. And it is beautiful in the spring. I hope you strolled across the golf course just at twilight and felt the peace and quiet of an Iowa evening, just as I used to do."