Thursday, February 14, 2013
Iowa staff endures extreme makeover
By Adam Rittenberg
Few FBS programs enjoyed the coaching stability Iowa had during Kirk Ferentz's first 13 years at the helm.
As this chart shows, the Hawkeyes had a grand total of 15 assistants on staff between 1999-2011, meaning there were only six new additions during the span. There were zero changes between the arrival of receivers coach Erik Campbell in February 2008 and the departures of two coaches -- defensive coordinator Norm Parker to retirement and defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski to Nebraska -- in December 2011.
Yet after so many years with complete continuity, Iowa's staff is enduring its version of an extreme makeover. Ferentz is still there, by far the longest-tenured coach in the Big Ten, but he'll reportedly have three new assistants for the second straight year after having no new assistants in 2009, 2010 or 2011.
Rutgers on Wednesday announced Darrell Wilson, an Iowa assistant for the past 11 seasons, as its new secondary coach. Campbell already has departed the program, and The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette reports running backs coach Lester Erb also is leaving Iowa. Erb has spent the past 12 seasons with the Hawkeyes coaching running backs, receivers and special teams.
Iowa has announced one new assistant, tight ends coach D.J. Hernandez. Footballscoop.com reported last week that Bobby Kennedy, who spent last season as Colorado's receivers coach, and Jim Reid, who spent last season as Virginia's defensive coordinator, likely will join the Hawkeyes' staff.
Iowa also lost three assistants a year ago as Parker retired, Kaczenski left for Nebraska and offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe took a post with the Miami Dolphins. Parker and O'Keefe had been the only coordinators to serve under Ferentz at Iowa. Ferentz promoted Phil Parker to defensive coordinator, hired his son, Brian, from the New England Patriots and promoted LeVar Woods to a full-time assistant post.
It's somewhat common to see significant staff turnover in college football, even when the head coach remains. Wisconsin lost six assistant coaches after the 2011 season even though head man Bret Bielema stayed.
"Change is part of college football, and that happens," Ferentz said on signing day of staff changes. "It's part of football in general."
Change can be good, and perhaps the new blood will help Iowa take the next step in what should be an ultra-competitive Legends Division in 2013. But this is certainly a new experience for Iowa, which has had two head coaches since 1979 and prides itself on stability.
It should be another interesting offseason in Hawkeye Country.