Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa contract includes creative buyout language
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Kirk Ferentz’s extension includes more money for himself and his assistants, but it also provides the University of Iowa some buyout insurance should the football program fail to meet its expectations.
Ferentz, whose contract extension was released Tuesday afternoon, averages $4.5 million in compensation through January 2026. His salary and bonuses top out at $5.4 million in 2025.
But should the football program underachieve, a buyout sliding scale was inserted to protect the school. In 2016 and 2017, Ferentz’s buyout is 100 percent of his guaranteed income. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, it’s 75 percent. In the final five seasons, the buyout falls to 50 percent should Iowa not win at least seven games in years 2016-2020. But for every season Iowa wins at least seven games in 2016-2020, Ferentz’s buyout jump to 100 percent for one season from 2021-2025. That means if Iowa wins more than seven games in 2016, Ferentz’s 2021 salary becomes 100 percent guaranteed.
Ferentz’s bonuses for finishing in the Top 25 start at $125,000 and grow to $1.5 million with a national championship. If Iowa reaches the Big Ten title game, he receives $200,000. If the Hawkeyes win the West Division or finish the regular season perfect again, it grows by $50,000. A Rose Bowl performance is worth $250,00 and a College Football Playoff semifinal is a $375,000 bonus. Should Ferentz win national coach of the year again, that’s $100,000.
“The marketplace clearly, to a coach at this level, certainly is a good, lucrative business,” Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said. “I looked at the total picture, I looked at the longevity of the contract was valuable. It’s jut a combination of all those things that make it in my opinion and Kirk’s opinion a great contract moving forward.”
If Iowa wins eight or more games, Ferentz earns a $500,000 bonus. If his players have a graduation success rate of 80 percent, he picks up $100,000.
Iowa’s assistant coaches benefit as well. A bowl game is worth an 8 percent raise. Their raises grow commensurate with their final national ranking all the way to 20 percent, should the team win the national title. The university will provide a $250,000 bonus pool for Ferentz’s nine assistants, his top two strength coaches and director of operations available within the next 30 days.
“We’ve retooled, that’s my mindset for the second phase of this whole thing,” Ferentz said. “Certainly we have good people who want to be here and that’s important for everybody.”
Ferentz still had four seasons left on his previous contract, which was finalized in 2010, but Barta said “now was the right time” for offering the extension.
“The foundation is so strong, beyond that with our facilities, our recruiting,” Barta said. “I just feel great with where we’re at and I want to make that we’re poised to continue that into the future.”
Ferentz has coached the Hawkeyes since 1999 and has a 128-87 record.