Kirk Ferentz re-signs with Iowa through 2025 season

Kirk Ferentz re-signs with Iowa through 2025 season

(AP) Kirk Ferentz has a new contract that will likely keep him with Iowa through the rest of his career.

Iowa announced Tuesday that it has signed Ferentz to a six-year contract extension through the 2025 season.

Ferentz, who is in his 18th season leading the Hawkeyes, will see his salary jump to $4.5 million per year under the new deal, with performance bonuses yet to be detailed.

“Iowa is home to me, my wife, Mary, and our five children,” Ferentz, 61, said in a statement. “We moved a lot during the early years of coaching, but once we arrived in Iowa City this quickly became our home. We appreciate and value what it is to be an Iowan and an Iowa Hawkeye.”

Ferentz’s last contract, which was for 10 years at roughly $40 million, was set to expire in early 2020. Ferentz’s massive buyout was subject to scrutiny under his previous deal, but a series of changes made by Ferentz – earning him the nickname “New Kirk” – led to a 12-2 season and a trip to the Rose Bowl to quiet that talk.

Ferentz and Oklahoma’ Bob Stoops are the nation’s longest-tenured coaches, having been hired within days of each other in 1999.

What is remarkable about Iowa’s decision to retain Ferentz until the middle of the next decade is that, just 18 months ago, many Hawkeyes fans wanted to see him fired.

Iowa stumbled through a 7-6 season in 2014, capped by an embarrassing loss to Tennessee in a bowl game. Ferentz was never at risk of losing his job – partly because of a buyout that would’ve cost the Hawkeyes well over $10 million – but he promised to take a fresh look at how he ran his program anyway.

Ferentz unexpectedly promoted quarterback C.J. Beathard ahead of successful incumbent Jake Rudock ahead of spring practice in 2015. Rudock left for Michigan, but Beathard blossomed into a star in leading the Hawkeyes to a school-record 12-0 start. The Hawkeyes embraced trick plays and alternate uniforms last season, things the once-conservative Ferentz shied away from in the past.

Ferentz has also gone away from his propensity to redshirt as many freshmen as possible, playing six of them in last week’s 45-21 win over Miami (Ohio) to open the season.

“What stands out about coach Ferentz is his ability to bounce back,” said cornerback Desmond King, whose relationship with Ferentz play a role in his decision to return for his senior season. “He’s very resilient.”

Ferentz and his staff have ramped up recruiting efforts as well. The Hawkeyes, bolstered by a new football-only facility that rivals any in the country, currently have a top-20 class lined up for signing day in February.

Ferentz will surpass Hayden Fry, who he worked with for years as an assistant, as the longest-tenured coach in Iowa history if he stays through the end of his new deal. Fry coached for 20 seasons at Iowa.

“There were two great coaches here, (Ferentz) and (Hayden) Fry. He’s an amazing coach, an amazing guy to look up to. He does all the small things right,” linebacker Josey Jewell said.

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