Kirk Ferentz and the University of Iowa agreed on a contract extension in February. The goal was to have it signed before the 2009 season started.
With Iowa’s fall camp beginning Aug. 5, the deal was signed last week and the UI announced it Monday.
Ferentz will continue to receive $3.02 million in annual salary. The big tweak is access to a private plane for up to 35 hours of personal use annually. The cost of this perk could be as much as $85,000, the UI estimated. The UI athletics department will pay for it with contributions from the national I-Club.
“Kirk is well paid and he agrees and is grateful for that,” UI athletics director Gary Barta said. “He hasn’t had a raise in three years, but what we did talk about was the addition of access to an airplane.”
In the contract he signed in 2008, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel is allowed to use the OSU jet for 20 hours a year.
“Just with the craziness of the 24-7 nature of the job, it just helps ease that a little bit,” Barta said. “When we ask him to be several places over the period of a few weeks, when he does need some personal time, some vacation time, he does have access to an airplane.
“In lieu of a raise, we put this together, something that a lot of schools or professional teams have.”
Ferentz’s contract will keep him second among Big Ten coaches in salary. Only Tressel earns more at $3.5 million a season.
The contract runs through the 2015 season, which would be Ferentz’s 17th season as head coach and 27th overall at the University of Iowa. Ferentz spent nine seasons as offensive line coach for Hayden Fry before replacing Fry in December 1998.
Ferentz will begin his 11th season as Iowa’s head coach Sept. 5 against Northern Iowa. He has a 70-53 record at Iowa.
When Ferentz signed on as Iowa’s coach Dec. 2, 1998, he coached 20 games without having a signed contract. The hold up then was “separation language.” This time, it was simply time.
Between recruiting, I-Club events and summer camps, neither side could find a decent window to finalize the deal. The years of the contract were important for both sides, Barta said.
“Kirk and I agreed we wouldn’t let it get into the football season, because certainly you don’t want something like this to distract from your team,” Barta said. “It was important but it wasn’t urgent (to have the contract signed). As long as we were comfortable and had it done before the football season and here we are on July 20.”
Player conduct isn’t addressed in the new contract and wasn’t discussed, Barta said. Since mid-April 2007, 26 Iowa football players have been arrested or issued citations. Twenty of the players had charges or citations related to alcohol or drug use/possession.
“In my opinion, two years ago, we had off-the-field issues that reached a high level of concern,” Barta said, “but even in those, even though the behavior wasn’t acceptable, Kirk’s response . . . several players are no longer with our program because of that behavior. He has been swift in his discipline.
“When we have issues off the field, I think Kirk handles it with integrity, consistency and discipline. I would love to say we’d never have another off-field issue, but I know that’s not the case. What I am confident of is that when they occur, Kirk is going to handle it appropriately with integrity and with discipline.”
According to the contract, the financial aspects of the contract can’t be renegotiated within three years of signing.
“We have no tax dollars involved and so in order for us to run 24 sports, football and men’s basketball have to be successful,” Barta said. “So, when you have someone like Kirk, who’s a proven winner, it’s so great to have that continuity.”