NEW YORK — For now, there is enough room for two at the Iowa football coaching peak.
Kirk Ferentz tied Hayden Fry for the most wins in program history, at 143, with the Hawkeyes’ 27-20 win over Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl on Wednesday.
“I really consider myself extremely fortunate,” Ferentz said. “It just gets down to the people you’re with every day.”
It’s fitting the two will spend the offseason tied for first — at least through the offseason — because they are so interconnected.
Fry hired Ferentz as his offensive line coach in 1981. Ferentz coached under Fry until 1989. Ferentz passed on his wisdom, coaching 11 Hawkeyes who went on to the NFL, but also used his time to pick up as much wisdom from Fry as possible.
“Probably one of the best decisions I’ve made outside of asking my wife to marry me, was coming to Iowa in 1981,” Ferentz said.
Fry arrived at Iowa after the 1978 season, taking on a major rebuilding job. The Hawkeyes produced a non-losing campaign three times from 1962-78. Fry quickly changed everything in the program, including the logo, and took Iowa to the Rose Bowl in his third season in 1981.
In 20 seasons, he took Iowa to three Rose Bowls, including 1985, when the Hawkeyes won the league outright. In 1985 and 1990 Iowa won 10 games under Fry, who led the team to 14 bowl games.
Ferentz took over the program in 1999 and created a team that had highs higher than those in the Fry era. Ferentz needed two years to rebuild a stagnated program before making his first bowl in 2011. By 2002, he established Iowa as a program on the rise, winning 11 games, tying for the Big Ten championship and earning an Orange Bowl berth.
Ferentz twice tied for the Big Ten championship and won the Big Ten West title during an undefeated regular season in 2015. His teams won at least 10 games five times and finished in the Associated Press top 10 five times.
Iowa finished this season 8-5. Ferentz’s first crack at passing Fry, and holding the wins record by himself, comes next season when the Hawkeyes host Northern Illinois on Sept. 1, 2018.