Locker room remains sacred place for Kirk Ferentz

Pat Harty
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz watches the action against Ball State on Sept. 6 at Kinnick Stadium.

IOWA CITY, Ia. -- Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz is greatly influenced by his former boss Hayden Fry.

The locker room always was a sacred and private place under Fry and nothing has changed with his successor.

Unlike a lot of coaches who now allow their team's postgame celebrations to be shown on the Internet and on university websites, Ferentz still cherishes his team's right to privacy.

"I guess the locker room and the bathroom are two places I try not to have exposed to the public at this point," Ferentz said Tuesday. "To me, there are certain things that should still be left to some level of privacy.

"I know it's not the way the world is going right now. To me, football is a pretty intimate experience sometimes. It's nice to have some intimate moments."

Unlike Fry, who coached at Iowa from 1979-98 and before the Internet, Ferentz now works in an age where social medial rules.

Ferentz said while he opposes having cameras in the locker room, he would allow for it if given no other choice.

"First thing I'll say is it's strictly a personal decision in my opinion," Ferentz said. "If it gets mandated, we'll do it. I think it is mandated in the NFL. I think it is. At least I always see cameras in people's locker rooms, the little bit I do see. If it's mandated, we'll do it.

"Otherwise, to me, not everything in life has to be public. That is probably one of the reasons I don't tweet or whatever else they do. But I don't think everything has to be public. Football is a pretty intimate deal, activity. So that's what makes it fun."

The 59-year old Ferentz has embraced some of the new ways to use social media in recruiting. Several of his assistant coaches are on Twitter and his staff also reaches out to prospects by using Photoshop to enhance the mail sent out to them.

"It's a whirlwind," Ferentz said. "But I get it. I understand why you have to do it."

Ferentz doesn't understand why giving cameras more access to his team would help in recruiting.

"If somebody convinces me we have to do it to recruit, I'll probably retire," he said.

Ferentz also voiced his displeasure for having to be interviewed at halftime of games. That has become common in both college and professional football with the rise of sideline reporters.

"I think it's really silly, typically," Ferentz said.

Ferentz had a chance to listen to a few halftime interviews with head coaches during the bye week on Saturday. It reminded Ferentz about one of his interviews when he was asked his thought about the opponent scoring on a long play.

"I can think of a game where I was asked what I thought of about the play or first touchdown, the 80-yarder went down their sideline and got their stadium to go totally crazy," Ferentz said. "What do you think I thought? That's just one that stands out. But I know everybody's got to get close and intimate. I get that."

Iowa sports information director Steve Roe said a plan for interviewing Ferentz is always in place heading into a game.

"When we meet with television personnel during the week, we ask them so we know in advance if they want to talk to coach before the game, halftime and postgame so that we have a plan," Roe said. "Coach Ferentz will do an interview when he first comes on the field about 50-to-55 minutes before a game. He doesn't like to do the interview two minutes before the game kicks.

"At halftime, he just likes to know, and our security, it helps to know who they'll get going off the field and what they'll do coming back on the field."