IOWA CITY, Iowa — Football coach Kirk Ferentz has interviewed six candidates for his two vacant offensive coaching slots and has plans for a potential third offensive assistant, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said Thursday.
“He’s brought in coaches that he thinks could fill in any of the offense’s needs and interviewing them with kind of an open mind and then deciding once he gets the best coaches on board, who’s going to coach offensive line, who’s going to coach wide receivers, who’s going to coach running backs,” Barta said after the monthly Presidential Committee on Athletics meeting. “I mean that sincerely. He’s bringing in about a half-dozen coaches, and he’ll figure out who’s going to fit what role once he figures out who he’s going to get here.”
Barta said Ferentz has interviewed six candidates, and Barta has met all but one. Ferentz makes the hiring decision provided the candidate meets all campus qualifications, and Barta approves the financial package. Barta said he’s unsure if Ferentz has made an offer to one or two prospects.
“Getting it right is most important,” Barta said. “He’s not going to put himself in a corner and say by this date. He’s pretty far down the path. He’s had some good interviews.”
After last month’s Outback Bowl, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Greg Davis elected to retire. Ferentz then dismissed wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy and running backs coach Chris White. Ferentz elevated his son, Brian Ferentz, from offensive line coach to offensive coordinator and hired former offensive coordinator and NFL assistant Ken O’Keefe as quarterbacks coach.
That leaves Iowa with potential assistant openings at offensive line, running backs and wide receivers coach. Currently, Iowa has only two available slots, which would require either Brian Ferentz to coach a position like running backs or have a graduate assistant perform those coaching duties, at least in the short term.
In April, the NCAA Board of Directors expects to approve a 10th assistant coaching position. That would allow Iowa to hire a full-time coach for the position left out in this cycle. Ferentz also is interviewing coaching candidates for the 10th assistant position.
“What we’re worried about a little bit is that all of the sudden there’s 120 schools that are going to have the ability to hire another coach, and the marketplace is going to be scrambling,” Barta said. “We’re going through that process right now.”