IOWA Magazine | 07-25-2023

25 Feats of Ferentz: Hawkeye Coach Reaches Career Milestone

3 minute read
This fall marks a quarter century of leading the Hawkeyes for the dean of college football coaches.
Alt Text PHOTO: HAWKEYESPORTS.COM Kirk Ferentz enters his 25th season as Iowa's head coach and continues his reign as the longest-serving FBS head coach in the nation.

The typical shelf life of a college football coach isn’t long. According to a report last year by the sports analytics company On3, the average Football Bowl Subdivision head coach has been at his current job for just 3.7 years. Kirk Ferentz’s career, however, has been anything but average.

This fall marks Ferentz’s 25th season since he took the reins from his predecessor, Hayden Fry, making him the longest-tenured FBS head coach. To celebrate his quarter century of leading the Hawkeyes, let’s look back at 25 ways Ferentz has become an Iowa icon.

Alt Text PHOTO: HAWKEYESPORTS.COM Former Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby (78MA), at right, introduces Kirk Ferentz as Hayden Fry's successor in an introductory press conference in December 1998.


Ferentz enters the 2023 season two victories away from 200 career wins (186 at Iowa and 12 at the University of Maine).


The number of head coaches in the Big Ten since former Iowa Athletics Director Bob Bowlsby hired Ferentz.


Ferentz’s record against Minnesota in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale.


Kirk and his wife, Mary, had their first date 50 years ago this past spring. They’ve been married 43 years.


The number of NFL draft picks under Ferentz.

Alt Text PHOTO: HAWKEYESPORTS.COM Kirk Ferentz oversees a recent Hawkeye football practice.


Ferentz’s ranking among Big Ten coaches for all-time wins (186 entering the season). He trails only Amos Alonzo Stagg (232), Woody Hayes (205), and Bo Schembechler (194).


The Ferentzes have five children who are all UI grads, and all three sons played football at Iowa.


The number of first-team All-Americans he’s coached.


Ferentz has coached two Big Ten MVPs: Brad Banks (03BA) in 2002 and Shonn Greene in 2008.


The number of seasons Ferentz served as Iowa’s offensive line coach under Hayden Fry in the 1980s.

Alt Text PHOTO: HAWKEYESPORTS.COM Kirk Ferentz served as an assistant coach under Hayden Fry from 1981-89, including in this photo of the 1983 coaching staff. FRONT ROW (left to right): Defensive ends coach Bernie Wyatt (62BS), linebackers coach Barry Alvarez, defensive coordinator Bill Brashier, defensive line coach Dan McCarney (75BS), graduate assistant Bob Stoops (83BBA). BACK ROW (left to right): offensive coordinator Bill Snyder, receivers coach Del Miller, offensive line coach Kirk Ferentz, head coach Hayden Fry, running backs coach Carl Jackson, tight ends coach Don Patterson, strength coach Bill Dervich.


The number of Academic All-Big Ten honorees under Ferentz.


Total yards gained by the Hawkeye offense under Ferentz. That’s about 60 miles.


Ferentz’s Hawkeyes have earned 20 bowl invitations, including 12 January bowl games.


Ferentz has seen five new teams join the Big Ten since he took over at Iowa, including the addition of USC and UCLA next fall.


Kirk and Mary Ferentz’s extensive philanthropy to the university included a $1 million donation to support neonatal research at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Alt Text PHOTO: STEPHEN MALLY/HAWKEYESPORTS.COM Kirk Ferentz greets Kid Captain Charlotte Keller during 2019 Kids Day at Kinnick Stadium.


The Hawkeyes are one of just five teams to win at least eight games each season since 2015, excluding the abbreviated 2020 campaign. Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and Ohio State are the others.


The number of first-round NFL Draft picks produced by Ferentz, including 2023 selections Lukas Van Ness and Jack Campbell (22BA).


Ferentz has twice been named national coach of the year—after the Orange Bowl season of 2002 and the Rose Bowl season of 2015.


The number of times Iowa has finished ranked in the top 10 nationally under Ferentz.


The number of head coaches Iowa has had the past 45 years.

Alt Text PHOTO: HAWKEYESPORTS.COM Kirk Ferentz leading the Hawkeyes in 2021.


The year Ferentz, a graduate of the University of Connecticut, became an English teacher, assistant football coach, and girls basketball coach at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts.


The number of packs of chewing gum stocked each game day in Ferentz’s locker.


The number of victories at Iowa that Ferentz reached in 2018, when he surpassed Fry as the program’s all-time winningest football coach.


Ferentz’s record against Cy-Hawk rival Iowa State.


The number of points Iowa has scored under Ferentz. That’s compared to the 5,872 points opponents have scored.

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