Brian Ferentz will not return to Iowa staff in 2024 as Hawkeyes offense sits behind mandated pace

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Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz will not return in 2024, the school announced Monday. Ferentz will remain on staff through Iowa’s bowl game. The decision comes fresh off a bye week in the wake of the Hawkeyes suffering up a 12-10 loss against Minnesota, the program’s first loss against the Golden Gophers since 2015. 

“Anyone who loves Iowa football recognizes both the success and challenges that have brought attention to our program this season,” Iowa interim athletic director Beth Goetz said in a statement. “Our struggles on offense coupled with the offensive coordinator’s contract make this a unique situation. After conversations with head coach Kirk Ferentz, coach Brian Ferentz and President (Barbara) Wilson, I informed Brian that our intention is for him to be with us through the bowl game, but this is his last season with the program. Making this known today is in the best interest of the program and its loyal fans; it provides clarity during this pivotal time in the schedule.” 

Ferentz, the son of longtime Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, signed a contract amendment over the offseason that required the Hawkeyes to average at least 25 points per game as a team and reach seven wins. If Iowa failed to reach those thresholds, Ferentz’s contract would be terminated. 

To this point in the season, Iowa is averaging just 19.5 points per game and headed in the wrong direction. The Hawkeyes have only reached 25 points in two individual games this season and none since Sept. 30. According to SportsLine projections, Ferentz’s offense is 13.53% behind the pace he needs to reach the 325-point plateau. 

“For the vast majority of my adult life I have had the privilege to represent the University of Iowa as a football player and coach. I have always considered and will always consider it an honor,” Ferentz told ESPN. “In that time my singular goal has been to contribute to the football team’s success. As long as I am employed by the University of Iowa my stated goal will not change. My priority will continue to be the well being of our students and the success of our team.”

Ferentz has been under fire over the last two seasons after his units tanked. The Hawkeyes ranked second-to-last nationally in total offense in 2022. This year, the unit has slipped to last place at a paltry 232.4 yards per game. The mark ranks more than 65 yards behind any other Power Five program. Iowa is averaging just 15.0 points per game against Big Ten West opponents, a mark that’s only gotten worse as the Hawkeyes deal with the loss of starting quarterback Cade McNamara as well as tight ends Erick All and Luke Lachey

While Ferentz’s contract would be terminated if the team failed to score 25 points per game, it did not preclude Iowa from bringing him back on a new contract. However, Iowa has apparently opted to make a final decision on Ferentz instead of leaving his situation up in the air. 

In order to skirt past nepotism laws, Ferentz reports directly to the athletic director rather than his head coach father. Longtime athletic director Gary Barta retired from the university on July 31, 2023. Goetz — who has the final call on Ferentz’s future — joined the athletic department in 2022 and does not have a longstanding relationship with the Ferentz family. 

 

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