The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

May 16, 2012

A Not-So-Family Tradition: Kincart headed to Hawkeyes

OTTUMWA — For the most part, Will Kincart is following in his father’s footsteps.

Jeff Kincart played at Iowa State University and lettered for the Cyclones in 1980. Like his father, Will is looking to make it as a major college football player next fall.

There is, however, one significant twist to this story. After growing up in Cyclone household, Will Kincart will follow in his father’s footsteps at his father’s team’s major rival. The Davis County senior is going to get an opportunity to work his way onto the Iowa Hawkeyes as a preferred walk-on next season.

After growing up surrounded by cardinal and gold, Kincart will be dressing in a black and gold uniform next year. It’s a concept that has taken a little getting used to.

“I wasn’t really an Iowa fan at all until a couple of months ago,” Will said. “I’ve never really cheered for Iowa, unless it was a bowl game maybe.”

“We just want our son to live his dream,” Jeff added. “I guess we’re a house divided now.”

It’s not exactly a house divided evenly, however. Kincart is the first member of his family to go to Iowa from a family that has seen 13 members attend Iowa State, including Will’s older sister.

Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz certainly doesn’t let a Cyclone household prevent him from going after recruits. In fact, some of Ferentz’s best players were plucked out of families that had a Cyclone playing legacy.

“Brett Greenwood’s dad played at Iowa State, and Bret Van Slaten also had a father that was a former Cyclone player,” Ferentz said. “Those were two of the best families we’ve ever had supporting our program. It’s not that difficult to turn around their rooting interests.”

It also helped that Iowa stepped in right after ISU stepped out in the recruitment process of Kincart. A two-time all-state selection, the 6-foot-3 Davis County lineman was considering several offers and had high hopes that ISU would offer Kincart a scholarship.

“We had only gone to a few, and we thought Iowa State was 70-30 we were going to get there,” Will’s mom Karen Kincart said. “That’s when Coach (Troy) Douglas called and said they really weren’t interested, which kind of surprised us.”

Will wasn’t about to give up on his dream of playing college football. He instead gave the Iowa’s other major football program a second chance to show any interest in offering him an opportunity.

“I thought I was going to get a scholarship at first, but Iowa had dropped out of the picture throughout most of my senior year,” Kincart said. “After I sent them my game film, (Iowa assistant) coach (Reese) Morgan decided to take a chance.”

Rather then simply calling Kincart with an offer, Morgan made his way down to Bloomfield to meet with Will, Karen and Jeff. That meeting made the decision easy for both Will and his parents.

“Coach Morgan was professional and very organized,” Karen said.

“He’s got a very good football head on his shoulder,” Jeff added.

“He was the first coach to come and visit me,” Will said. “That’s when I knew I was going to Iowa, no matter what.”

Under Ferentz, Iowa has had a very successful history with former walk-ons, including All-Pro tight end Dallas Clark. Kincart is one of four players who make up the 2012 walk-on class, along with Sioux City receivers Alex Imming (Sioux City East) and Michael Malloy (Bishop Heelan) and Iowa Western transfer running back Andre Dawson.

Being a former college football player himself, Jeff sees a lot of potential in his son being able to make it with the Hawkeyes.

“He’s really fast. He can run a 4.7 40 (yard dash),” Jeff said. “I’d say there aren’t a lot of 245-pound guys that can do that. I know his dad never could,” Jeff joked.

Getting advice from his father on improving as a football player is nothing new for Will. The dream of being able to continue a family tradition in his own unique way has driven Kincart to make any improvement he needed to on the gridiron.

“Ever since my freshman year, I’d always ask my dad what I needed to do to get better,” Will said. “I’ve gotten all-state honors two years in a row, so I can’t really complain.

“I’ve always wanted to play college football, mostly because he used to play. It’s always been my favorite sport.”

While Kincart may be the first member of his family not to attend ISU, he is actually not the first member to have never attended Iowa. After graduating from Iowa State, his mother Karen went to physical therapy school at Iowa and worked closely in the early 80s with the Hawkeye football team, including treating players such as Mark Bortz, John Alt, Jay Hilgenberg and Lon Olejniczak.

“I tended to stay an Iowa State fan just to keep the house civilized,” Karen said.

“I could always tell, though. You could tell every once and while she’ll want to turn the channel to the Iowa game,” Jeff joked.

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