Report: Iowa expected to hire Ladell Betts as running backs coach

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central
Ladell Betts is a native of Blue Springs, Missouri, and was a four-year running back for the Hawkeyes from 1998 through 2001.

Iowa is expected to name Ladell Betts, its No. 2 all-time rushing leader, as the football program’s next running backs coach. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel broke the news Saturday afternoon, as the Hawkeyes basketball team was set to play in the Big Ten Conference Tournament semifinals.

The University of Iowa did not confirm the report, though two assistant-coach hires could be announced next week.

Betts has been the head coach of Pine Crest High School, a private academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Pine Crest is a Class 4A school in Florida (out of eight classes) and went 4-0 last season amid strict COVID-19 protocols in that area.

Betts has close ties to Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, considering he was the primary running back for Ferentz’s first three seasons (1999-2001). For his Iowa career, Betts (a Hayden Fry recruit from Blue Springs, Missouri) rushed for 3,686 yards and 25 touchdowns on 831 carries.

Betts would be in line to replace Derrick Foster, who was the running backs coach for three seasons before taking a job with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Thamel recently reported the scoop of George Barnett being named Iowa’s offensive line coach to replace Tim Polasek, who left for Wyoming.

In Betts, Iowa gets a high-character guy with Hawkeye ties and rich NFL experience. Betts rushed for more than 3,000 yards over nine NFL seasons, eight of those with Washington. He is the most accomplished of Ferentz’s long line of running backs over 22 years at Iowa.

Betts, 41, was also a college teammate of current Iowa special-teams coordinator LeVar Woods. Betts’ Florida connections should help maintain recruiting inroads the Hawkeyes had made under Foster in the South.