What we now recognize as the Air Raid offense has gradually taken over every level of football from youth teams running some form of “Shallow,” to high school teams chucking it around 80 times a game, to it’s obvious roots in college football, and even stretching recognizably into the NFL game.
Tracing it back to where it all started with the Air Raid, you’ve got to go back to the corn fields of Iowa back in 1989 and a team coming off an 0-10 season who hired Hal Mumme to get things turned around. That school? Even those with just a basic background of the offense, or Mike Leach, or Mumme, will recognize the name Iowa Wesleyan.
That’s where the Air Raid was born, as Mumme used inspiration from LaVell Edwards’ potent passing attack at BYU, as well as what guys like innovative minds like Don Coryell and Bill Walsh were doing in the NFL. Of course, Mumme (and Leach) went on to success together at Valdosta State (D-II – GA), and then Kentucky, and we all know where the story branches off from there.
Sadly, facing a financial crisis, Iowa Wesleyan is now in very real danger of shutting down.
“At this moment, the university does not have the required financial underpinnings to bridge the gap between strong enrollment and new programming, and the money needed to keep the institution open,” school president Steven Titus wrote on the school’s website.
Things are so bad that the school may not be able to keep their doors open until May to see Seniors graduate, according to the Des Moines Register.
The school recently asked alumni to help raise about $15 million to help keep the school afloat, but that has not materialized the way they had hoped. Iowa Wesleyan finished 2015 in the hole $3.32 million, 2014 at a $4.57 million loss, and 2013 at a $2.45 million loss.
A lot of coaches will always associate Iowa Wesleyan with the birthplace of the Air Raid, and while the offense will certainly find a way to live on forever in football, the university itself is in some dire straits right now.
Head here to read more on the financial situation at Iowa Wesleyan via the Des Moines Register.