IOWA CITY, Iowa (WHO) — The Brian Ferentz-era of Iowa Hawkeye football is coming to an end. On Monday interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz announced that the team’s offensive coordinator, and son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, will not return to the team in 2024 as his unit has sunk to the depths of college football and a renewal performance clause in his contract seems increasingly unlikely to be achieved. Brian Ferentz will remain with the team through the end of this season and bowl game.
The University of Iowa Athletic Department announced the move with the following statement made via email on Monday afternoon:
“Anyone who loves Iowa football recognizes both the success and challenges that have brought attention to our program this season. Our struggles on offense coupled with the offensive coordinator’s contract make this a unique situation.
After conversations with head coach Kirk Ferentz, coach Brian Ferentz and President Wilson, I informed Brian that our intention is for him to be with us through the bowl game, but this is his last season with the program. Making this known today is in the best interest of the program and its loyal fans; it provides clarity during this pivotal time in the schedule.
It is not my practice to be involved in assistant coaching decisions and certainly not to make public such a change during a season. Our priority is to put all our student-athletes in the best position to have both short-term and long-term success, on and off the field. Our football team has a group of outstanding young men and talented athletes, who at 6-2, have a lot to play for. As a former athlete, I know every opportunity to put on the jersey is a cherished one.
As Hawkeyes, let’s continue to support all our coaches, staff and student-athletes in their pursuit of a Big Ten Championship and bowl game victory.”Beth Goetz, University of Iowa interim Athletic Director
The younger Ferentz is in his seventh – and now final – season leading the Hawkeye offense, a tenure that saw early success before spiraling into one of the worst statistical units in the nation over the last three years. He entered the season with a newly restructured contract that would only renew if the team averaged 25 points or more per game in 2023; through eight games they are scoring just 19.5 points per game while ranking dead last in yards per game.
Brian Ferentz played for his father at Iowa from 2001-2005 as an interior offensive lineman, being voted an honorable mention to the All-Big Ten team in 2005. He would spend two years in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints before hanging up his pads and following his father into coaching. Bill Belichick, who Kirk Ferentz formerly worked under on the Cleveland Browns, hired Brian Ferentz in 2008 as an offensive quality control coach with the New England Patriots. After three years in New England, Brian Ferentz was hired to his father’s coaching staff.
Brian Ferentz returned to Iowa City in 2012 as the Hawkeyes’ offensive line coach. Due to anti-nepotism laws in Iowa, Brian Ferentz’s contract stipulated that he reported to the school’s athletic director, not his father. After five seasons as an assistant coach, Brian Ferentz was promoted to Offensive Coordinator ahead of the 2017 football season.
In his first season leading the offense, the Hawkeyes improved over former OC Greg Davis’ squad to average 329 yards per game – good for 117th in the nation. The Hawkeyes would improve to 92nd in the nation in 2018, 99th in 2019 and 88th in 2020. But that season would prove to be a high point for Brian Ferentz.
The 2023 Iowa Hawkeyes rank dead last in college football in yards per game. Their 232.4 yard average is 26 yards-per-game worse than the next closest team – the Eastern Michigan Eagles. This performance follows the 2022 season when the Hawkeyes finished next-to-last in the nation in yards-per-game and 2021 when they ranked 121st out of 130 teams in the FBS.
|Season||Yards Per Game||Yds/Game Ranking|
|2017||329.1||117 out of 130 teams|
|2018||375.0||92 out of 130 teams|
|2019||366.5||99 out of 130 teams|
|2020||368.6||88 out of 128 teams|
|2021||303.9||121 out of 130 teams|
|2022||251.5||130 out of 131 teams|
|2021||232.4||133 out of 133 teams|
Gaining yardage wasn’t the only struggle for the Hawkeyes’ offense under Brian Ferentz. After peaking in 2020, the Hawkeye offense failed to consistently score as well. The decline in scoring lead to a renegotiated contract between Brian Ferentz and then-AD Gary Barta. The clause stipulated that if the Hawkeyes failed to average 25 points-per-game during the 2023 season, his contract would not be automatically renewed after the season. Through eight games, the Hawkeyes are more than five points per game behind that pace, having topped 25 points just twice this season (41 points versus Western Michigan and 26 points versus Michigan State). Barta retired from the school earlier this year; Beth Goetz has replaced him as interim-AD.
The Iowa Hawkeyes have five games remaining on the 2023 schedule. Their next matchup comes Saturday when the Northwestern Wildcats host the Hawkeyes at Wrigley Field. The current Over/Under (total score for both teams) for the game from sportsbooks is 29.5 points. That is the lowest expected total score for a game in modern betting history, according to Hawk Central.
|Season||Points Per Game||Ranking|
The Hawkeyes are 6-2 on the season and sit in a tie for first place in the Big Ten West. However, the current tiebreaker belongs to the Minnesota Golden Gophers against whom the Hawkeyes could only score ten points at Kinnick Stadium on October 21st in their last game. The Hawkeyes offense has been hit hard by injuries this season, with starting quarterback Cade McNamara and tight ends Luke Lachey and Erick All suffering season-ending injuries.
In the Hawkeyes’ seven seasons with Brian Ferentz in charge of the offense, the teams have a combined record of 57-25, including a 4-1 bowl record and four finishes in the AP top 25.