1979 Football Team
The Spartans coach Don Birmingham parlayed a league leading defense into its first outright football championship in 31 years. The UD defense allowed 165.3 yards per game while posting a 9-1 overall record and unblemished 7-0 record in Iowa Conference (IIAC) action. The 1978 Spartans finished in a four-way tie for the IIAC title while the 1980 team finished alone atop the conference as they won three straight titles.
The duo of current UD Hall of Famers Mike Masters (C'81 - HOF Class of 2004-05) and Todd Cox (C'82 - HOF Class of 2008-09) led the IIAC in scoring with 42 points. Masters scored seven touchdowns on 114 carries and 504 yards rushing, while Cox converted seven field goals and was 21-23 on extra point opportunities. Tim Finn (C'82 - HOF Class of 2005-06) rushed for 429 yards on 88 carries to help UD capture the rushing title with 1,559 yards on the ground in seven league games. Quarterback Rick Steil (C'81 - HOF Class of 1992-93) completed 38 of 99 passes for 645 yards and five touchdowns. In league play, the Spartans scored 200 points while holding their opponents to a dismal 49 points.
Rick Steil was named Iowa Conference MVP and Don Birmingham (HOF Class of 1996-97) was chosen IIAC Coach of the Year for his efforts. First Team All-Iowa Conference selections were: Todd Cox (C'82, placekicker), Frank Fortini (C'82, defensive back), Mike Masters (C'81, running back), Loren Dwight Peerson (linebacker), Gene Rowell (C'81, HOF Class of 1991-92, defensive lineman), Bob Salinas (C'81 - HOF Class of 1995-96, defensive lineman), Rick Steil (C'81, quarterback), and Rick Wallace (C'81, offensive lineman). Second Team All-IIAC members were: Mike Deutsch (C'83, defensive back), Steve Gangloff (C'80, linebacker), Curt Kain (C'80, defensive lineman), Joe Miller (C'81, offensive lineman), Tim Twitchell (C'80, defensive back), and Doug Wilson (C'81 - HOF Class of 2004-05, offensive lineman).