- Nov 11, 2008
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Kirk Ferentz’s age (66 as of Aug. 1) is a significant factor.We saw this issue used against Iowa toward the end of the Hayden Fry era, too. Teenagers and their parents can do the math. Class of 2022 prospects know that if they’re committing to Iowa, the No. 4 winningest Big Ten coach in history might not be in charge by the time they complete their college career. Ferentz (in his 23rd year as Iowa's head coach) is signed through the 2025 season, when he would be 70. Even if he did stay that long, that would only be four years for 2022 kids … and even less for rising juniors in the 2023 class.
Ferentz has long indicated he wouldn’t be a head coach past 70. But in an early-June interview with the Register, Ferentz said he has never been more eager for a season and feels great.
"I don’t know what I’ll feel like at 70 or 72. If I feel like this, I’ll keep going for a while," he said then. "I will say this: I’m not going to do this at age 78."
You can bet other programs are seizing on Ferentz’s age, too, particularly considering the younger head coaches in Iowa’s recruiting footprint — Minnesota's P.J. Fleck is 40; Iowa State's Matt Campbell is 41; Nebraska's Scott Frost and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald are 46.
Ferentz is a sharp CEO. If recruiting spirals into a real problem (right now, it’s just a concern), he and Iowa athletics director Gary Barta may need to proactively address his future with either a contract extension or exit strategy/succession plan. The last thing Ferentz wants to do is leave the program in a sharp decline, as Fry did in 1998.
Thoughts, theories and explanations about the Hawkeyes' slow-moving Class of 2022 and why it's still too early to panic.