How Ferentz parlayed Pitt job into Iowa opportunity

Rick Brown
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz

Kirk Ferentz spent the 1980 season as a graduate assistant on Jackie Sherrill's coaching staff at Pittsburgh.

A graduate of nearly Upper St. Clair High School, Ferentz and his wife, Mary, decided to give the coaching profession two years to see if it would became a fruitful occupation.

"My goal was to stay at Pitt for another year," Ferentz said. "I was having the time of my life working with Joe Moore (his mentor)."

His career made a life-changing detour when he saw that Iowa's Hayden Fry was looking for an offensive line coach. Ferentz made a call and got an interview in Iowa City.

"My only intent was just to interview so I knew how to interview so when I had to look for a job the next year, I'd have some clue what I was doing," Ferentz said. "That was the only reason I came out here. The rest of history."

Fry hired Ferentz, and he was the Hawkeyes' offensive line coach until leaving to become the head coach at Maine in 1990. Ferentz then returned in 1999 to replace Fry as the Hawkeyes' head coach.