If Iowa Hawkeyes Head Coach Kirk Ferenz’ seat wasn’t hot enough after losing to Northern Illinois last Saturday, it’s about to get even hotter. Reliable sources close to the Hawkeyes football program have told me that if Ferentz loses to cross-state rival Iowa State next Saturday, and follows that up with another lack luster Big Ten season, the university is prepared to buy out the head football coach’s remaining contract.
Ferentz would be owed nearly $17 million if the university decides to buy out the remaining years of his contract. My sources also say that if the losing continues, the university will not hesitate to pony up the money to release him from his coaching duties.
One other source that is extremely close to the program said that their number one choice as Ferentz replacement would be Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco. This makes a lot of sense in two ways.
Diaco played for the Hawkeyes from 1992-1995 under legendary head coach Hayden Fry. Then add in that Diaco is one of college football’s hottest young coordinators since leading the Fighting Irish defense to an undefeated regular season, and a trip to the BCS Championship game during the 2012-13 season.
Personally, I think Ferentz is one hell of a coach, and has won at a program that’s not exactly easy to win at. He has lead Iowa to 10 winning seasons in the past 12 years, and has finished 4th or better in 10 of his 14 seasons. To me, though, captain Kirk looks tired, and doesn’t have the same energy on the sidelines or recruiting trail. If this season slips away from Ferentz, it might be the best thing for him (and Iowa) if he steps aside.
Now on the other hand, if they’re able to land one of college football’s best young coaching candidates in Diaco, it might be exactly what this program needs – and that’s energy.
Back in 2009, the Notre Dame defense was historically bad, ranking 86th in the nation in total defense. So the first thing Brian Kelly did as the new head coach of the Irish was bring Diaco with him from Cincinnati.
Diaco installed his 3-4 defense, and every year since the Irish defense has been statistically better, and this year’s defense has a chance to be his best yet.
With all that said – Ferentz still has time to turn this season around, and save his job.