Kirk Ferentz is Old Faithful at Iowa

Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is the longest tenured coach in the Big 10 since Penn State fired Joe Paterno toward the end of last season.

Ferentz has been at Iowa City serving as the patriarch of the Hawkeye program beginning with the 1999 season guiding the Hawkeyes to a 99-66 record, a 6-4 bowl record, and two Big Ten championships.

The pinnacle of his Iowa career to this point was the magical 2002 season that saw Iowa go 11-1 in the regular season.

Surprising play from quarterback Brad Banks, who was the Heisman runner-up to Carson Palmer, and the rapport he established with Mackey Award winner Dallas Clark led Iowa to the Orange Bowl.

That remains the only BCS bowl that Iowa has been selected to play in.

The Iowa program has not been as dominant as they were during the prime years under the watch of Ferentz, but the program is consistently in the top half of the standings in the conference.

One reason for this is that Ferentz has made a reputation as a coach who can recruit high school athletes from the farms of Iowa and beef them up in the weight room and the cafeteria.

Making a habit of turning high school tight ends and converting them into dominant offensive lineman has been a habit under Ferentz, who has most notably turned Robert Gallery and Eric Steinbach

Coincidentally enough, Gallery and Steinbach each recently retired after eight and nine years, in the NFL, respectively.

Ferentz has walked away from the NFL himself serving as the offensive line coach with the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens preceding his arrival at Iowa.

He has also turned down many overtures from the NFL about head coaching possibilities.

For the past half decade anytime an NFL coach is fired, Ferentz is rumored to be a top candidate to replace the ousted coach.

Ferentz repeatedly has stated his happiness with his job at Iowa and has no plans to leave.

He displayed his commitment signing a contract extension in 2009 that will keep him on the Iowa City campus through the 2020 season.

That would take him to 21 years on the job and would be one year longer than his mentor and predecessor, Hayden Fry , was on the sidelines at Iowa.

Something tells me the NFL whispers will continue and Ferentz will rebuff their overtures and will see his statue outside Kinnick stadium as he retires as the all-time wins leader in Iowa history.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com Wednesday mornings from 8-10.  View his show’s website here.

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