Kirk Ferentz: Overrated or underrated? NCAA football coaches say both

Danny Lawhon
Hawk Central

You'd think people would have made up their minds about Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz after his two decades in charge.

Apparently his usually congratulatory coaching brethren still can't agree.

The nation's longest-tenured Division I football coach, who's about to embark on his 20th season in Iowa City, was deemed the third-most overrated coach in what called its "Candid Coaches" survey released this weekend.

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz is entering his 20th season in Iowa City. Yet his coaching brethren can't seem to agree whether he's an overrated or underrated figure.

The national website polled one-fifth of the roughly 130 coaches in the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision, granting them anonymity in order to opine on subjects from Alabama's dominance to running a clean program to paying players.

Well, "Who's good at their job?" is one of those hot-button questions you can expect to be asked in this format, and the Big Ten Conference is home to a couple of guys who some say get a little too much street cred.

Penn State coach James Franklin tops the overrated list at 20 percent, along with new Florida State coach Willie Taggart. But Ferentz, who was the state of Iowa's highest-paid employee in 2017 with $5.075 million in pay, shared third place on the list with Florida Atlantic's Lane Kiffin (13 percent).

If you want to take solace in anything, whatever these coaches said in private about Ferentz wasn't good enough to make the publishing cut. Just look at a couple of these comments:

  • "James Franklin. His coaching peers know he is full of it."
  • "I'm probably a little jealous (of Kiffin). If you're born on third base, that's great, but don't think you hit a triple."
  • "(New Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher) never has the organizational skills. He flies by the seat (of his pants. It looks like it's organized and the words he uses are the same, but if you talk to people who work in his office, the desk is sloppy, the rooms are sloppy." 


Curiously, Kirk Ferentz also received votes on the "most underrated" list, although he didn't crack the top 5 there. Stanford's David Shaw and Texas' Tom Herman share that oddity.

Perhaps, though, that distinction befits the emotional peaks and valleys Hawkeyes fans have experienced with the man who's 143-97 and currently tied with Hayden Fry on the all-time Iowa victories chart.