Iowa assistant Derrick Foster leaves for NFL job, reportedly with Los Angeles Chargers

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central
Derrick Foster has been Iowa's running backs coach for the past three seasons.

For the first time since 2008, Iowa had a first-team all-Big Ten Conference running back this past season in sophomore Tyler Goodson.

That is a testament to the fine job done by running backs coach Derrick Foster, who Iowa confirmed is leaving for an NFL job on Wednesday. A recent report said Foster was going to serve as an assistant for the NFL's Los Angeles Chargers.

“This is an important opportunity for Derrick in the National Football League,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz in a statement. “Since he joined our staff as the running backs coach, Derrick has had a significant impact on the players and our staff. I wish Derrick and Bianca and their two young children all the best in their new home.”

While that move to the NFL had been rumored for a week, it became official Wednesday afternoon. Iowa said the NFL team hiring Foster would announce his hire at a later time. 

Foster, who will turn 35 next month, was an out-of-the-box hire from tiny Samford University following the 2017 season. The Alabama native helped create recruiting inroads into the South while also bringing a workmanlike, upbeat approach to a position group that increasingly got better during his three seasons in Iowa City. 

Last fall during Iowa's 6-2 season, the Hawkeyes averaged 4.62 yards per carry and ranked second in the Big Ten in scoring. Goodson and Mekhi Sargent created a formidable 1-2 punch in the backfield.

The Hawkeyes now have two staff openings on the offensive side of the ball. Earlier Wednesday, Wyoming announced that it was hiring four-year Iowa offensive line coach Tim Polasek as its offensive coordinator. Prior to Polasek and Foster leaving, Iowa hadn't had an assistant coach voluntarily depart the program since linebackers coach Jim Reid left for Boston College following the 2015 season.

Iowa also announced Wednesday that Mark Kallenberger, a projected starting tackle for the Hawkeyes in 2021, will not play a fifth season and will graduate this spring. 

“Mark has been a strong player and leader within our program," Ferentz said. "I completely understand and respect his decision and wish him the very best.” 

Tyler Goodson was a first-team all-Big Ten running back in 2020, Iowa's first since Doak Walker Award winner Shonn Greene in 2008.