College football’s longest-serving head coach has agreed to a deal that will keep him in place for years to come.
Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, who has led the Hawkeyes since the 1999 season, has agreed to a four-year contract extension that will run through the 2029 season, the school announced Friday. His previous contract was due to expire in 2025.
“Kirk’s consistent leadership and success over the past 23 years has been incredible and appreciated as he has led our football program in a first class manner,” Sporting Director Gary Barta said via the press release. school. “His success over the past 23 years speaks for itself. He is an asset to the University of Iowa and our athletics department as a whole. The foundations of its program are solid and the future looks promising.
University of Iowa President Barb Wilson added, “In his three decades with Iowa, Coach Ferentz led our football program with tremendous success and integrity, showing how the Athletics can be a rewarding experience for our student-athletes and a hallway for many to learn about our remarkable university. This contract reflects our commitment to Kirk and Mary as members of our Hawkeye family.
Kirk Ferentz extension with Iowa comes with huge pay raise
Ferentz was originally expected to earn $5.1 million (before bonuses) next season. Including a $200,000 bonus for Iowa winning the Big Ten West division title, Ferentz earned $5,925,000 in 2021, $5 million in base salary and $925,000 in bonuses.
His total annual compensation under the new contract, which he signed on December 31, the day before the Vrbo Citrus Bowl, according to a copy of the contract obtained via a FOIA request by the registry, will be $7 million. It includes a $500,000 base, $5.5 million in top-up compensation and a $1 million longevity bonus. The contract expires on January 31, 2030.
With a four-year extension, Ferentz’s contract will end at 74
Ferentz, 67, is the eighth oldest head coach in college football and recently asked about how long he will continue coaching at Iowa. In the past, he’s indicated he won’t coach beyond 70 (when the 2025 contract expired), but took a different approach when speaking about it last summer.
“I don’t know how I’ll feel at 70 or 72. If I feel like that, I’ll keep going for a while,” Ferentz said in June 2021. “I’ll say this: I’m not going to do it at 78. .”
Without a doubt, the last years of Ferentz’s tenure were among the most difficult. The Iowa football program was rocked in June 2020 when allegations of racial disparities within the program came to light; the result is an ongoing lawsuit that will go to trial in 2023. And in the midst of that, Ferentz guided his team through a global pandemic, which is still rampant in early 2022.
Learn more about Ferentz:How Kirk Ferentz weathered a rough year and made Hawkeye football better
Through adversity, the Iowa football program won on the field. The Hawkeyes are 16-6 the past two seasons and 7-1 in trophy games, as well as two top-25 finishes with a Big Ten West championship. Off the court, players praised Ferentz for the work he has done to make the program more comfortable and inclusive for all players.
“We got to know each other and our experiences better,” former running back Tyler Goodson said in December. “The coaches too, they sat down with us and asked questions. They do that when recruiting but went further and there is even more to know about each player.
“That’s how we progressed, how we got stronger as a team, and it showed throughout the year. We got off to a good start, lost a few games and came back and won more games and reached the Big Ten Championship. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. We didn’t go our way, but we all came together.”
Learn more about Ferentz:How overcoming adversity and a Kirk Ferentz grade helped Iowa reach the Big Ten title
Ferentz’s legacy has been cemented for a long time. His 178 wins as Big Ten coach are No. 4 in league history behind Amos Alonzo Stagg (232), Woody Hayes (205) and Bo Schembechler (194). His momentum in the later years of his career coincided with significant progress on the recruiting track.
In 2021, Iowa signed the nationally ranked No. 24 class, according to the 247Sports Composite, which was its best result in more than 15 years. This year’s Class of 2022 is ranked No. 27 and features the highest-ranked prospect in program history for safety Xavier Nwankpa and another state All-American in defensive lineman Aaron Graves.
The Hawkeyes’ next class of 2023 is already ranked No. 12, and Iowa is firmly in play for more touted prospects, such as five-star state offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor and the football legacy of Iowa Kyler Kasper, a wide receiver. Clearly, behind closed doors, Ferentz has already assured the next wave of players that he will stay in place for many more years.
In today’s unpredictable coaching landscape, Ferentz will remain the constant voice of Iowa for many seasons to come. And that’s good news for the Hawkeyes.
Read more Iowa football news
Kennington Lloyd Smith III covers Iowa Hawkeyes football and men’s basketball for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington at Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.