Posted by: marcmwm | February 12, 2009

Lifetime deal?

Kirk Ferentz will turn 60 when his new contract runs out.

Is this a lifetime deal?

This is $21 million, give or take, for the next seven years. That’s financial security for generations, but I’ve never gotten the feeling it’s been about money for Ferentz. This also is seven more years of doing things his way at Iowa. One of Ferentz’s early mantras was, paraphrasing, that if it all falls apart, there’s only one person the finger needs to point to.

This would also be 17 years at Iowa. Iowa will have had two — TWO!!!!!!!!!! — coaches in a 37-year span.

By the way, Ferentz’s response to recruiters who told high school kids that he’s going to the NFL this year was brilliant.

“My answer to that one was . . . All you have to do is bring it up and ask that coach how long he has been at that school,” Ferentz said. “Outside of Penn State, I’ll give you that one. They have us, but outside of that, there aren’t many schools nationally that have coaches at the same school as long as we’ve had.

“I saw a list of how many coaches are out there past a decade at their schools and its just a handful right now. I’ve been here 19 years (nine as an assistant). Factor onto that the stability of our staff. Two guys left to be coordinators, and now they are head coaches. Three guys went to the NFL and we allowed Carl to retire at 68. We have good stability here. That is our answer, typically.”

Now, there are plenty of 60-year-old coaches in the NFL. It certainly wouldn’t be out of the realm for Ferentz.

Remember this quote from somewhere around the Orange Bowl in 2002?

“I don’t know what it would take to get me out of here,” Ferentz said. “The NFL? If you pinned me down, maybe the NFL when I’m 58. If you get your butt shot off when you’re 58, who cares? You’ll be 60 soon. I’m not going to worry about it then. I know this: players last an average of 3.3 years in the NFL, and head coaches are probably under that.”

If this newest contract goes full term — it probably won’t, one way or the other — would the NFL be all that appealing? If Ferentz is here when he’s 60, Iowa is going to be to the point of naming something after him. Iowa will also have built an entirely new football building (offices, weightrooms and all of that) to go along with renovated Kinnick.

Ferentz’s goodwill bank is full at Iowa. The account took a hit in 2007 and filled back up in ’08. In the NFL, that account would need to be opened, first, and then filled.

Is this a lifetime deal?

I think it’s close. What do you think?

hawkeyes_27 by crgazette.

Coach Kirk Ferentz reacts after having gatorade dumped on him by Mitch King and Rob Bruggeman near the end of their 31-10 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks during the fourth quarter of the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla., Jan. 1, 2009. (Jonathan D. Woods/The Gazette) 


  1. Marc-

    I sure hope it as close to a lifetime contract as possible. I honestly do not care about our record (well, that is sort of a stretch) as long as Kirk Ferentz is the head coach at the University of Iowa.

    What does he have to gain when he is 58-60 by coaching in the NFL? He does not seem the type of person who has to prove himself to the rest of the world. He is comfortable with who he is and what he has accomplished.

    Can you think of two better people to have as a head coach at the University of Iowa than Hayden Fry and Kirk Ferentz?


  2. I think Barta is wise to extend this contract for as long as KF indicates he is willing to stick around for. Are there better coaches out there? Maybe. Are there better men leading college football programs? Not very many, and that’s something that you can’t just pluck out of the clear blue sky.

    As far as program longevity, we are LUCKY in the point that you bring up about 2 coaches in 37 years. We have been spoiled by two great leaders in that span. In an age where college football programs chew up and spit out coaches like Joaquin Phoenix’s gum, it’s pretty amazing what we have going here in Iowa City.

    Yes, we will have our peaks and valleys, but the valleys are merely valleys only because of the level of success KF and company have reached in their tenure.

    Thanks Mr. Barta, and thanks Kirk, for getting this done.

  3. Kirk is here as long as he wants to be and I think he retires a Hawkeye when all is said and done.

    He’s done things his way up to now and that isn’t going to change. His family loves IC, from all you read, he’s got a beautiful stadium, hard core fans and makes $3M/ yr.

    Seriously, what more could he, or anyone want? Not much which is why I think his final PC will be a lot like Hayden’s(“I’ll always be a hawk”)

    Thanks Coach Fry, you were ahead of your time when it came to seeing young talent.

  4. Kirk was always going to coach James through college at Iowa. So in another 4 years, what would be the point of chasing the NFL dream at that time? He’s happy in Iowa City and Iowa fans are happy he’s here. He’ll retire a Hawkeye legend and there is nothing wrong with that. If he has any doubts, all he has to do is give Coach Fry a quick call. GO HAWKS!

  5. Right now, it’s 30 years with two coaches — Hayden went 20 and KF is entering No. 11.

    At the end of this deal, it’d be 37. That’s an amazing number. Think of how many college programs that would give their trophy case for that kind of continuity and loyalty.

    The older I get, the more I appreciate the genius of Bump Elliott’s hiring of Hayden Fry. Exactly what Iowa needed. Ten years from now, I’ll be saying the same thing about Bob Bowlsby (hey, it worked out right in the end) and Ferentz.

  6. For the record, my colleague Scott Dochterman said today he believes Ferentz is a lifer. Scott might get mad at me for putting that out there, but it’s a good, strong opinion.

    I want to see how Todd Haley does before I go that far.

  7. It’s not a lifetime deal per say, but in essence it’ll keep Ferentz in Iowa City as long as he wants to be… which is the right thing to do. Kirk gets the most out of his players and does things the right way.

    You can’t overpay for integrity, and we get an overdose of that with Ferentz.

    The fact that there isn’t a pay raise speaks volumes of the respect Kirk has for the university. He is in a GREAT situation right now, and he knows it.

  8. Great read, and great responses.

    I think the longer KF is away from the NFL, the less desirable that gig becomes, and the more he and Mary fall in love with everything Iowa.

    I say he’s a lifer if he stays to the end of this contract.

  9. I still think he might have a slight itch to go to the NFL some day, but the longer he stays I think the more he’ll appreciate the security that Iowa offers. I would love it if this were a lifetime contract and he retired a Hawkeye. He’s a fantastic coach and a credit to the program and university.

  10. 58 roughly coincides with James’ graduation. Probably a coincidence.

    I can’t think of the second assist who became a coordinator and then a head coach. I got Chuck Long. Who was the other?

  11. If there was any doubt that KF was going to coach here only if he could recruit and develop his kind of guys, I think it was eliminated by the idiosyncratic mix in this year’s recruiting class — it is an archetypal development bunch, with a couple of all-worlds at skill positions — and this contract. The contract gives him all the leverage and won’t stop the NFL overtures. But it will make him an extremely well-paid rookie NFL coach if he goes. And he now can be almost capricious in his requirements: “I’ll only work for Belichick”; “I’ll only work for the Rooneys” etc.

  12. […] (Cedar Rapids) Gazette's Marc Morehouse has an interesting blog post about Ferentz's new contract, noting that Ferentz will be 60 when his deal runs out. Morehouse also dug up a revealing Ferentz […]

  13. […] (Cedar Rapids) Gazette's Marc Morehouse has an interesting blog post about Ferentz's new contract, noting that Ferentz will be 60 when his deal runs out. Morehouse also dug up a revealing Ferentz […]

  14. […] The new deal for Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz takes him through the age of sixty, making the contract a lifetime deal in effect. As a reminder: Iowa has had two coaches in the past 37 years. The new deal also includes incentives […]

  15. Marc, I think you’re reading too much into that 2002 comment.

    Remember, it was at this time that Coach was taking a seriously hard look at Jacksonville (BTW, thank you for that one Mary, thank you very much!).

    I think this is it for him.

    If you look at past history of the great ones, it was at about this age they really starting hitting on all cylinders…Osborne, Bowden, Paterno, Barry.

  16. I don’t know why, JA, that comment just popped into my head.

    Also, and there’s no way of knowing this, it could depend on KF’s life goals. Maybe at 60 he’ll want to kick back and take up fishing? I know, no one’s buying that one. If you want a good laugh, ask KF about his golf game at an I-Club event. Let’s just say he’s not a fan.

  17. Now, if Iowa can just lock down Ken O’Keefe for the same length of time…

    And Stormin, it’s ‘per se’ NOT ‘per say’ Bloggers need to use proper grammar too. 😉

  18. Jorge, hello from a cold basement in Fairfax.

  19. Mr. Barta, my offer to do the job for less still stands – but I’m pleased with this.

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