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"Covering College Football Coaching from Miami to Honolulu"

 

 KIRK FERENTZ

     

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KIRK FERENTZ

Age:  53

School:  Iowa

Alma Mater:  Connecticut, 1978

Conference:  Big Ten

Salary:  $3,030,000

Official Bio:   www.hawkeyesports.com

Years Coaching:  12

Career Record:  73 - 70  .510

Years at School:  9

Record at Iowa:  61 - 48   .560

2007 Record:  6 - 6  .500

2007 Cost per Win:  $505,000

Attorney/Agent:  Neil Cornrich     

Contract:    

 

December 2008 Buyout:  $4,545,000

COACHING RECORD - WINNING - LOSING RECORDS

Year School Record Bowl
1990  Maine 3-8  
1991 Maine 3-8  
1992 Maine 6-5  
1999 Iowa 1-10  
2000 Iowa 3-9  
2001 Iowa 7-5 Alamo
2002 Iowa 11-2 Orange
2003 Iowa 10-3 Outback
2004 Iowa 10-2 Capital One
2005 Iowa 7-5 Outback
2006 Iowa 6-7 Alamo
2007 Iowa 6-6  
Career   73-70 .510
  Iowa 61-48 .560

2008 SCHEDULE

Date Opponent Location 2008 CHS Prediction Result
8/30/08 Maine Iowa City, IA W  
9/06/08 Florida International Iowa City, IA W  
9/13/08 Iowa State  Iowa City, IA W  
9/20/08 Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA L  
9/27/08 Northwestern Iowa City, IA W  
10/04/08 at Michigan State East Lansing, MI L  
10/11/08 at Indiana Bloomington, IN L  
10/18/08 Wisconsin Iowa City, IA L  
11/01/08 at Illinois Champaign, IL L  
11/08/08 Penn State Iowa City, IA L  
11/15/08 Purdue Iowa City, IA W  
11/22/08 at Minnesota Minneapolis, MN W  
         
   Coaches Hot Seat Prediction   6-6  

 

Coaches Hot Seat Analysis

The genius of Albert Einstein was his ability to recognize that time and distance are not absolute, which he could only do by looking at the world as not through his own eyes.  The PBS show Nova is running a program right now, Einstein's Big Idea, and it lays out clearly Einstein's idea that, "The ticking rate of a clock depends on the motion of the observer of that clock; likewise for the length of a "yardstick."  The "motion of the observer" is important relative to Kirk Ferentz, because only someone looking in at Iowa from the outside can draw a very clear line from the beginning of the downfall of the Iowa football program to today.  On November 23, 2004 Iowa signed Kirk Ferentz to a new contract that ran through the 2011 season and made Ferentz one of the highest paid coaches in the game.  Ferentz clearly deserved a new contract at the end of the 2004 season, because Iowa had won 31 games in the previous three years (11-3, 10-2, 10-2) which included a trip to the Orange Bowl at the end of the '02 season.  Upon signing this new contract Ferentz was quoted as saying, "I feel very fortunate to be at Iowa, and I deeply appreciate the University extending my contract. President Skorton and Bob Bowlsby have been very supportive of our efforts. I feel honored to be a coach at the University of Iowa. All of us on the staff are very excited about the future of our program."  The problem is that since Ferentz signed that very rich contract his overall record is 19-18 and his record in the Big Ten is 11-13.  When you win more than 10 games for 3 straight seasons, sign a very rich contract, and then win 19 games in 3 years, it certainly raises some eyebrows.  The yearly records themselves (7-5, 6-7, 6-6) are interesting, but even more troubling is actually watching Iowa play football during the 2002-2004 period, and then watch Iowa play in the last couple of seasons.  Technology is a great thing, and watching an Iowa team playing in 2002-04 period on one television and last year's team playing on another TV that are side-by-side is to see the difference between night and day.  The first thing that screams off of the TV screens is that the overall intensity level is dramatically different, with the 2002-04 teams playing with much more passion, drive, and fire.  The second very noticeable item is the amount of stupid penalties and lack of focus by the Iowa players in the last couple of years.  Another thing is that the Iowa sideline, when it is shown, looks more out of control and in chaos in the last couple of years.  Lastly, other things that we noticed in the last two seasons is that the special teams didn't look as well coached, the offensive and defensive lines did not fire off the ball as well, the quarterbacks didn't look as well prepared, and the Iowa defense gave up a lot more big plays.  What does it mean that almost from the day that Kirk Ferentz signed a new long-term  and very rich contract, that his Iowa teams are playing a lot worse football?  We don't know exactly, but there is a huge difference between the Iowa teams in the "pre-big Ferentz contract" years and the "post-big Ferentz contract" years, and that should be very troubling for the people making the hiring and firing decisions at Iowa.

 

One of the most troubling trends both in athletics and in corporate world is the increasing use of "guaranteed" employment contracts that pay coaches, athletes, and CEO's enormous amounts of money, whether they actually perform or not, and those contracts can often lead to people taking their eyes of the most important thing, doing their jobs.  Many of us here at Coaches Hot Seat believe that the guaranteed money in the NFL and MLB are one of the driving forces that has taken the passion out of both games, because professional players are now guaranteed to be paid huge sums of money whether they perform or not.  In the corporate world it is even worse, with CEOs sometimes being paid both guaranteed money and large bonuses that are based on the performance of their companies, but we later learn that the actual performance of those companies was nothing more than a sham that existed on balance sheet and income statement, but not in reality.  At least in sports we have actual and real numbers to look at, and since Kirk Ferentz signed his mega-contract, he is 19-18 and 11-13 in the Big Ten.  Is that a coincidence?  We don't think so.  Whether the reason that Ferentz and Iowa has performed at a sub-par level is because Ferentz has taken his eye off the ball, all head football coaches should be very aware of the dangers of taking the focus off the immediate task at hand, which is putting a winning football team onto the field.  Money is important, but head football coaches will be remembered for a lot more than how much money they made, namely the amount of young men they have coached that add to our society in positive ways, the impact of the coach on the lives of people both inside and outside of their program, and the amount of wins and championships earned by his football teams.  For most head football coaches, the money is a bonus, because the same applies to them as Warren Buffett when he says about his job running Berkshire Hathaway, "I would do this job for free, because it is what I love to do.  Don't tell the shareholders that though!"  Being a head football coach at a Division I school is a privilege, and it sure beats going into an office everyday, and coaches should realize that fact and make sure that 100% of their attention is focused on the very immediate job that is before them, which is:  COACHING THEIR FOOTBALL TEAM.

 

Coaches Hot Seat Bottom Line

We predict that Kirk Ferentz and Iowa will have a 6-6 record in 2008.

Iowa has a fairly easy non-conference schedule in 2008, with Maine and Florida International visiting Iowa City to start the year, which is about as a guaranteed 2 wins as you can get in game of college football today.  After the embarrassing loss to Iowa State in '07, Iowa should be motivated to beat the Cyclones this season, which should allow the Hawkeyes should be

3-0 heading to play Pitt on September 20.  We see the Pitt game as the beginning of the end of the Hawkeyes in 2008, with a  loss of Pitt being the first loss of 6 in the last 9 games of the season.  The biggest problem for Iowa in recent years has been in the Big Ten, and we see Iowa going 2-6 in the conference, which if it happened would give Ferentz a 4-year record of 17-19 in the Big Ten.  If Ferentz and Iowa do indeed go 6-6 and have a losing record in the Big Ten in 2008, the question will then turn to if Iowa can continue to pay a coach that is putting mediocrity onto the football field.  Reading Ferentz's contract, , it is not entirely clear to us what Ferentz's December 2008 buyout would be, but our best guess puts it around $4.55 million.  Would Iowa pay a football coach $4.55 million to buyout a contact?  We are doubtful that they would, but if Iowa does put up a 6-6 record in 2008, the Hawkeye fans are going to be demanding that someone answer for Iowa's recent football records, and the football coach would be the obvious person to go.  Of course, it is not a "fait accompli" that Iowa will go 6-6 in 2008.  Kirk Ferentz can draw on his experience during the 9 years that he coached on Hayden Fry's staff at Iowa (1981-89) and remember a time when the Hawkeye football team was down after several very good years.  Iowa football can return to its pre-2005 days by very simply playing with a lot more passion, intelligence, and focus.  It is the head coach and his staff's job to make sure that their team is prepared to play each opponent, and that has just not been the case in recent seasons at Iowa.  Ferentz and Iowa have a chance to turn things around in 2008, but nothing is going to change until the head football coach at Iowa decides that mediocrity is not going to be tolerated any longer within his football program, regardless of the eventual outcomes of the games.  If Ferentz demands excellence from his staff and players, the 6 win season we have predicted could easily be 9 wins instead. 

 

2008 Coaches Hot Seat Prediction:        6-6

 

Will Ferentz be back for the 2009 season?        YES*

 

*Ferentz will be fired if he does not get to at least a 6-6 (.500) record in 2008, regardless of the buyout amount.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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