IOWA CITY, Iowa – My hope is that three months from now Kirk Ferentz will be deep into leading yet another resurgence at Iowa.
That wouldn’t silence all his critics, but it would end speculation about his job status, at least until the University of Iowa hires a new president.
I want Ferentz to succeed for lots of reasons, some of which are selfish, including simply that it’s more fun covering a winner than a loser, especially somebody who handles winning with as much class as Ferentz does.
I want Ferentz to succeed because he very easily could’ve bolted from Iowa after lifting the program to elite status more than a decade ago. It’s no secret that Ferentz, who will turn 60 on Aug. 1, is admired by NFL decision makers and that some NFL head coaching jobs have been there for his taking.
I want him to succeed because other than winning enough games, Ferentz meets all his job requirements. His players graduate at a high rate. There has been no hint of any NCAA wrongdoings during his 16 seasons on the job. And he conducts himself with class and dignity.
I want him to succeed because that would show that a traditional pro-style attack in which running between the tackles is emphasized still can be effective in this age of spread offenses.
I want Ferentz to succeed because it would be disheartening to watch his once-proud legacy suffer more damage.
I want him to succeed because I’m not sure the people doing the hiring would make the right choice for his successor. I’m not against change, but when it comes to football, swinging and missing at Iowa can be disastrous.
I want him to succeed because he and his wife, Mary, are so entrenched in the Iowa City community, with Kirk having lived here for nearly half of his life. They’ve donated a substantial amount of money to charities and had the luxury of seeing all five of their children graduate from the same high school.
I want him to succeed because that would make the Iowa job more appealing to head coaching candidates after Ferentz retires.
I want him to succeed because Iowa fans deserve some success, considering all they’ve been through recently, inside and outside the stadium. From horizontal passes to heightened security for tailgating to a team that’s been painfully mediocre, Iowa fans have suffered enough.
I want him to succeed because it’s time for Iowa to start competing on the same level with Wisconsin again and to show Nebraska that it’s a formidable border rival.
I want him to succeed because despite my role as a columnist who doesn’t always see the positive side, Ferentz always has treated me fairly and with respect.
I want him to succeed because it would add yet another milestone to Hayden Fry’s expansive coaching tree. Ferentz already is firmly rooted to Fry’s tree, but to leave on a high note would be the ultimate tribute to both coaches.
I want him to succeed because chances are it would mean a victory over Iowa State this season. Nothing against the Cyclones, but I’m tired of watching what appears to be an uninspired Iowa team lose to what more times than not is a weaker Cyclone squad.
I want him to succeed because my father and my mother are 89 and 85-years old, respectively, and both would thoroughly enjoy another Hawkeye resurgence at this stage of their lives.
I want him to succeed because what I just said about my parents also fits for radio legend Bob Brooks, who has covered the Hawkeyes for nearly seven decades. Brooks shouldn’t have to witness the demise of one of Iowa’s greatest football coaches.
I want him to succeed because it should help Iowa’s chance of landing defensive end A.J. Epenesa, who is ranked among the top prospects in the 2017 class and the son of former Iowa defensive lineman Epenesa Epenesa. I also had star defensive back recruit Isaiah Pryor in this paragraph, but had to edit him out after he committed to Ohio State on Monday. Pryor lives in Georgia and is the son of former Iowa defensive end Richard Pryor.
I want him to succeed because it would show that despite how poorly Ferentz handled the quarterback competition between C.J. Beathard and Jake Rudock last season that Ferentz ultimately made the right decision by picking Beathard. It never should’ve come down to a quarterback competition in the TaxSlayer Bowl, but it did, and now it’s up to Beathard and much-maligned offensive coordinator Greg Davis to show that Ferentz made the right choice.
I want him to succeed because a head coach can change his assistants only so many times before it becomes an act of futility. Ferentz has put his faith in Davis, and right now, that decision is questionable at best.
And finally, I want Ferentz to succeed because he’s making over $4 million annually. It’s not tax payers’ money that pays his salary, but much of what drives the Hawkeye sports train is money produced by taxpayers.