Name: Kirk Ferentz
Education: University of Connecticut
Experience: Head coach, University of Maine (1990-92)
Offensive line coach, Cleveland Browns (1993-97)
Head coach, Iowa (1998-present)
Pros: Ferentz is highly regarded as a class act among college coaches. After struggling his first two seasons at Iowa (4-19), he revived the program with four straight New Year’s Day bowls. Ferentz has won the Big Ten Coach of the Year award twice since he came to Iowa City and has fared reasonably well in bowl games (3-3, with wins over Louisiana State and Florida). The one-time assistant coach under Bill Belichick runs a pro-style offense conducive to the Wolverines’ current offensive schemes.
Cons: It was just a few years ago that Ferentz was the hot pick rumored to bolt for a variety of NFL openings. Now, he doesn’t look so hot. Ferentz’s Hawkeyes are coming off a disappointing 6-6 year that includes a season-ending home loss to Western Michigan. He used to be the guy who did more with less, but after recent uninspiring seasons (6-6 this year and 2006), he hasn’t looked like such a motivator. His team has also run into legal trouble in recent years. Ten percent of his roster has found itself on the wrong side of the law this season. Just ask Michigan coach Lloyd Carr how off-the-field issues can distract a team.
Why he’ll get it: According to some websites, Ferentz has already been offered the job. He has a fan in University president Mary Sue Coleman, who was president at Iowa when Ferentz was hired there in 1998. He graduates players, and on the surface, he runs a clean program.
Why he won’t: He might not run as clean of a program as once thought. In addition to the current trend of his players tripping up off the field, some dubious practices regarding room and board for his son when he played for Iowa have recently come to light – and he’s not looking like a Michigan Man. Add on the way his teams have finished the past few seasons, and he may not be the right guy for the Michigan job.
What people are saying: “I think Kirk is one of the better coaches in the country. I think he’s doing a really good job, and I think sometimes it’s hard to believe that when you just look at the records. I think he does a terrific job, and the program is in great hands.” – Gerry DiNardo, Big Ten Network color analyst and former Louisiana State and Indiana head coach.