Why is Iowa struggling with 2022 recruiting? Kirk Ferentz’s age (66 as of Aug. 1) is a significant factor.

BleedGopher

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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.


Go Gophers!!
 



Boomtime

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Based on the supposed mention of lil Ferentz in the negative stuff, there is no "coach in waiting ".

But given their fan support, I'm sure they'll get a top notch HC when KF leaves.
 



Some guy

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Based on the supposed mention of lil Ferentz in the negative stuff, there is no "coach in waiting ".

But given their fan support, I'm sure they'll get a top notch HC when KF leaves.
Not sure top notch.

they will get someone top of the tier 2 conferences or a coordinator from a big school.

Iowa isn’t going to be able to pluck a power 5 head coach who is having huge success.
 

2nd Degree Gopher

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Based on the supposed mention of lil Ferentz in the negative stuff, there is no "coach in waiting ".

But given their fan support, I'm sure they'll get a top notch HC when KF leaves.
Not sure top notch.

they will get someone top of the tier 2 conferences or a coordinator from a big school.

Iowa isn’t going to be able to pluck a power 5 head coach who is having huge success.
I think it will be a Stoops, just not sure which one. All the Iowa fans I know love them some Stoopses.
 

Some guy

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I think it will be a Stoops, just not sure which one. All the Iowa fans I know love them some Stoopses.
Well Bob is 60. If he coaches again it’ll be in a win a national championship quickly situation:

it isn’t going to be Bob and he is the only one that matters.
 





MNVCGUY

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There is a certain Big Ten head coach at a different School in the West with an Iowa Tattoo on his body.....just saying.
 





fmlizard

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They don't seem to care that Nick Saban and Mack Brown are older. Nor did they care that JoePa and Bobby Bowden were ancient.

If they are hurting in recruiting, they could look at the multiple recent racism scandals they have had in the program.
 

Boomtime

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Unfortunately for us, any problems in Iowa City won't be long term issues.

Just look at how PSU has recovered from the Sandusky scandal.
 



Cayman

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Based on the supposed mention of lil Ferentz in the negative stuff, there is no "coach in waiting ".

But given their fan support, I'm sure they'll get a top notch HC when KF leaves.
Is Iowa actually an upper tier football job? Or more of a middling to lower tier power conference job that just happened to do well with the two coaching hires they've made in the last 40 years and change? The state of Iowa isn't particularly fertile recruiting grounds I wouldn't think, though they are closer to Chicago and St. Louis than we are. Their recruiting classes rank toward the middle of the Big Ten.

It doesn't seem like they've established themselves as a destination for top talent like, say, Nebraska has. Nebraska of course isn't at the top echelon of college football anymore, but they still get the top ranked class in the Big Ten West just about every year, despite how pedestrian they've been on the field. Iowa doesn't have that going for them. Iowa seems like they've relied on having good coaches who are able to maximize the potential of the fairly average recruiting classes they get. Haven't there been metrics that put Iowa toward the top, if not at the top, in regards to like wins or NFL draft picks relative to recruiting rankings?

Maybe they'll find some way to keep it in the family the way Wisconsin does and everything will go off without a hitch, or maybe they'll hire the next big hotshot Group of Five coach. But it doesn't seem like the sort of job where success is just sorta guaranteed for whoever is there. I don't think that just anyone would be able to go to a bowl game 8 out of 10 years at Iowa, and if they screw up the hire, it seems possible that they could just be like Illinois or Purdue or post-Saban, pre-Dantonio Michigan State for a little while.
 


2nd Degree Gopher

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Are we sure Kirk didn't get some assurances that Brian Ferentz would be next?
I wouldn't be surprised if Kirk tries to hang on until he can hand off the job to Brian.

I think that is absolutely what he wants. I don't believe that any assurances have been made (according to the mid-level Iowa boosters I know).
 

cjbfbp

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Is Iowa actually an upper tier football job? Or more of a middling to lower tier power conference job that just happened to do well with the two coaching hires they've made in the last 40 years and change? The state of Iowa isn't particularly fertile recruiting grounds I wouldn't think, though they are closer to Chicago and St. Louis than we are. Their recruiting classes rank toward the middle of the Big Ten.

It doesn't seem like they've established themselves as a destination for top talent like, say, Nebraska has. Nebraska of course isn't at the top echelon of college football anymore, but they still get the top ranked class in the Big Ten West just about every year, despite how pedestrian they've been on the field. Iowa doesn't have that going for them. Iowa seems like they've relied on having good coaches who are able to maximize the potential of the fairly average recruiting classes they get. Haven't there been metrics that put Iowa toward the top, if not at the top, in regards to like wins or NFL draft picks relative to recruiting rankings?

It's not a top of the line job like Alabama, LSU, or Ohio State but neither is it a "middling to lower tier power conference" job. Let's examine your statement: "they just managed to do well with two coaching hires they've made in the last 40 years and change." 40 years is not a temporary blip of success. That's almost like saying that the Duke coaching position isn't a top tier college basketball job because they just got lucky with a hire they made about 40 years ago. Prior to that, Duke basketball was not in the same league as Kentucky, UCLA, North Carolina, or Indiana (the perennial elite of the time).

I suspect this concern about their current recruiting is a little premature. You are correct that they've never been a top destination for HS football talent but their recruiting (according to recruiting rankings anyway) in the last five years or so is probably as good as it's ever been. What they are known for is what you've stated: they've significantly out punched their recruiting rankings when it comes to placing players in the NFL. A recent tally showed them tied for 12th place among FBS universities with active players on 2020 NFL rosters (28 players). As long as they continue to do that, they're going to generate their fair share of recruiting interest.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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I think that is absolutely what he wants. I don't believe that any assurances have been made (according to the mid-level Iowa boosters I know).
I wonder.

I really don't know.

Kirk too has expressed frustration with Brian, not a lot, but Brian's fit at TCF... to Kirk's credit he called Brian out on it. Not out of the realm of possiblities there is some agreement, maybe not HC? or maybe it is... who knows. When it comes to family it's hard to know what folks might do.
 

Cayman

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It's not a top of the line job like Alabama, LSU, or Ohio State but neither is it a "middling to lower tier power conference" job. Let's examine your statement: "they just managed to do well with two coaching hires they've made in the last 40 years and change." 40 years is not a temporary blip of success. That's almost like saying that the Duke coaching position isn't a top tier college basketball job because they just got lucky with a hire they made about 40 years ago. Prior to that, Duke basketball was not in the same league as Kentucky, UCLA, North Carolina, or Indiana (the perennial elite of the time).

I suspect this concern about their current recruiting is a little premature. You are correct that they've never been a top destination for HS football talent but their recruiting (according to recruiting rankings anyway) in the last five years or so is probably as good as it's ever been. What they are known for is what you've stated: they've significantly out punched their recruiting rankings when it comes to placing players in the NFL. A recent tally showed them tied for 12th place among FBS universities with active players on 2020 NFL rosters (28 players). As long as they continue to do that, they're going to generate their fair share of recruiting interest.
Duke basketball has established itself as a destination for the best basketball recruits in the country though, which Iowa football has not done. 40 years of is not a temporary blip, I agree, but has Iowa been as successful as it has because Iowa football is a powerhouse that anyone could win at, or is it because two good coaches got close to the maximum of the program's potential and stayed for decades? I guess the question is, do you think Iowa football is a self-sustaining machine? Is sustained substantial overachievement with respect to recruiting ranks something that just anyone can do, or were Fry and Ferentz particularly good at it?

Mostly I disagree with the idea that Iowa is guaranteed to reload keep it rolling with a new head coach. Just because Iowa has won a lot doesn't mean it's an easy program to win at. Duke basketball is now an easy program to win at, even if they weren't at the time that Coach K was hired. Coach K's successor will come in and get top 10 or top 5 recruiting classes and no one will be too surprised.
 

cjbfbp

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Duke basketball has established itself as a destination for the best basketball recruits in the country though, which Iowa football has not done. 40 years of is not a temporary blip, I agree, but has Iowa been as successful as it has because Iowa football is a powerhouse that anyone could win at, or is it because two good coaches got close to the maximum of the program's potential and stayed for decades? I guess the question is, do you think Iowa football is a self-sustaining machine? Is sustained substantial overachievement with respect to recruiting ranks something that just anyone can do, or were Fry and Ferentz particularly good at it?

Mostly I disagree with the idea that Iowa is guaranteed to reload keep it rolling with a new head coach. Just because Iowa has won a lot doesn't mean it's an easy program to win at. Duke basketball is now an easy program to win at, even if they weren't at the time that Coach K was hired. Coach K's successor will come in and get top 10 or top 5 recruiting classes and no one will be too surprised.

"I guess the question is, do you think Iowa football is a self-sustaining machine?"

Great question. I don't know the answer. Although I love both college basketball and football, I follow college basketball more closely and my memory of that sport is much more extensive. Except for a small number of elite programs, success in college basketball is fairly coach specific. Normally, you wouldn't consider a college team a powerhouse because of the fortunes of one particular coach (for example, I don't consider Wisconsin a real basketball powerhouse because no one except Bo Ryan has had tremendous results there over a long period of time). But, when success extends forty years or more, you really have to wonder whether a program has taken a step up to a self-sustaining machine. It's unlikely that a program like Iowa will ever be close to the most elite football programs in the country but it's possible that they could continue that Iowa level of success for a long time.
 

Tommyboy

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The majority of HS players in Iowa want to play for Iowa. Kirks recruits the state heavily and offers many of the local talent, he has been doing this for a long time. Kirks has provided continuity in his program, shoot he is recruiting the kids of old players.
 

Cayman

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"I guess the question is, do you think Iowa football is a self-sustaining machine?"

Great question. I don't know the answer. Although I love both college basketball and football, I follow college basketball more closely and my memory of that sport is much more extensive. Except for a small number of elite programs, success in college basketball is fairly coach specific. Normally, you wouldn't consider a college team a powerhouse because of the fortunes of one particular coach (for example, I don't consider Wisconsin a real basketball powerhouse because no one except Bo Ryan has had tremendous results there over a long period of time). But, when success extends forty years or more, you really have to wonder whether a program has taken a step up to a self-sustaining machine. It's unlikely that a program like Iowa will ever be close to the most elite football programs in the country but it's possible that they could continue that Iowa level of success for a long time.
I also follow basketball and basketball recruiting much more closely than football, and before looking it up, I'd thought Iowa's recruiting classes were worse than they really were. I thought their classes usually ranked closer to 9th or 10th in the Big Ten, but they seem closer to 7th or 8th.

Wisconsin basketball was also who I was thinking of as a comparison. Wisconsin recruits decently, but not amazingly. Minnesota basketball recruits around the same level that Wisconsin does, and has likely finished ahead of Wisconsin in recruiting a number of years too, yet we haven't finished ahead of them in decades, and they usually end up around the top third of the conference. They seem to follow the same pattern of Wisconsin basketball of turning mid-level recruiting into upper level on-court/field results, which I'm more inclined to attribute to coaching than to just the program and school brand name. High level player development is something that I'd think would be less likely to carry over from one coach to the next, while I would think that Tom Izzo's eventual successor at Michigan State will still be able to get his foot in the door with high level recruits.
 


PMWinSTP

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Duke basketball has established itself as a destination for the best basketball recruits in the country though, which Iowa football has not done. 40 years of is not a temporary blip, I agree, but has Iowa been as successful as it has because Iowa football is a powerhouse that anyone could win at, or is it because two good coaches got close to the maximum of the program's potential and stayed for decades? I guess the question is, do you think Iowa football is a self-sustaining machine? Is sustained substantial overachievement with respect to recruiting ranks something that just anyone can do, or were Fry and Ferentz particularly good at it?

Mostly I disagree with the idea that Iowa is guaranteed to reload keep it rolling with a new head coach. Just because Iowa has won a lot doesn't mean it's an easy program to win at. Duke basketball is now an easy program to win at, even if they weren't at the time that Coach K was hired. Coach K's successor will come in and get top 10 or top 5 recruiting classes and no one will be too surprised.
So, your thoughts on Wisconsin?
 


Cayman

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So, your thoughts on Wisconsin?
Wisconsin's best years have been under head coach Barry Alvarez, followed up by Bret Bielema, Barry Alvarez's hand-picked successor, working under athletics director Barry Alvarez. Bret Bielema left to Arkansas where he finished with a sub .500 overall record and took last place in his division 3 times in 5 years.

He was replaced at Wisconsin by Gary Andersen for two years, after which it seems many Wisconsin fans were happy to be rid of him because his coaching philosophy differed too much from the style of football that Barry Alvarez established. He went 7-23 in two and a half seasons at Oregon State, far worse results than the 19-7 record he earned while working under Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin.

Barry Alvarez then hired Paul Chryst, the offensive coordinator under Bret Bielema, who at the time was 19-19 overall after 3 years at Pitt. Working under Barry Alvarez, however, he has won 10 games or more 4 times in 6 seasons.

Combined records of Bret Bielema, Gary Andersen, and Paul Chryst as division 1 FBS head coaches:

Working for Barry Alvarez: 143-50 (.741)
Working for Not Barry Alvarez: 88-109 (.447)

The last 30 years of Wisconsin football have been coached by Barry Alvarez or someone that Barry Alvarez hired. It seems to me that Barry Alvarez is a substantial factor in Wisconsin's football success, and he isn't there anymore, granted maybe Chryst is similar enough of a coach to Alvarez to keep the train running awhile longer. Also Wisconsin seems like they recruit better than Iowa most years.
 




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