Oct 21, 2023; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes assistant coach Brian Ferentz reacts with linebacker Jay Higgins (34) as he returns to the sideline during the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa AD says OC Brian Ferentz won’t return in 2024

Brian Ferentz will finish the season as Iowa’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach but will not return next season, interim athletic director Beth Goetz announced Monday.

Ferentz, the son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, has been with the program since 2012 and has served as offensive coordinator since 2017.

Due to an underperforming offense in recent years, Iowa had Ferentz sign an amended contract for this season with a slight pay cut coupled with performance-based incentives. Specifically, he needed the Hawkeyes to average at least 25 points per game after they posted just 17.7 ppg in 2022.

Through eight games this season, Iowa is 6-2 (3-2 Big Ten), but the Hawkeyes have scored just 19.5 points per contest. That includes 14.2 points per game in conference play — a number boosted by a punt return touchdown against Michigan State and a safety against Wisconsin.

“Anyone who loves Iowa football recognizes both the success and challenges that have brought attention to our program this season,” 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.”

Goetz, who came to Iowa in 2022 and rose to interim athletic director this past August, wrote it is “not (her) practice” to get involved with assistant coach personnel decisions.

“Our priority is to put all our student-athletes in the best position to have both short-term and long-term success, on and off the field,” Goetz said. “Our football team has a group of outstanding young men and talented athletes, who at 6-2, have a lot to play for.”

The Hawkeyes brought in quarterback Cade McNamara as a transfer from Big Ten rival Michigan, but McNamara suffered an ACL tear in the fifth game of the season against Michigan State. Deacon Hill has manned the position since then, completing 37.8 percent of his passes for 427 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Kirk Ferentz, 68, has led the Hawkeyes since 1999. After last season, he danced around pointed questions about what made his son a good offensive coordinator, though admitting that the offense in 2022 was “not good enough.”

–Field Level Media

Iowa offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Ferentz, left, talks with Iowa quarterback Alex Padilla (8) during a NCAA football game against Ohio State, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

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Iowa amends contract of embattled OC Brian Ferentz

Iowa offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Ferentz, the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, signed an amended contract for 2023 with new performance-based incentives on Monday.

The university said in a release that Brian Ferentz’s salary will be $850,000, a $50,000 pay cut from last season, and added bonuses tied to objectives that “include an average of at least 25 points per game and a minimum of seven wins, including regular season and a possible bowl game.”

The Hawkeyes averaged just 17.7 points per game in 2022, good for 123rd out of 131 FBS teams. They also ranked second to last in total offense with 251.6 yards per game. Iowa still went 8-5 (5-4 Big Ten) behind the strength of the defense.

A school spokesperson told Sports Illustrated that the points per game incentive includes “any points scored,” meaning defensive and special teams scores will also help Ferentz’s cause. Iowa had six defensive touchdowns and two safeties in 2022.

Iowa made no changes to its football coaching staff this offseason, and last week Kirk Ferentz danced around pointed questions about what makes his son a good offensive coordinator. He did say the offense was “not good enough.”

Help is on the way for the father and son. After Spencer Petras took most of the snaps at quarterback in 2022 and finished with just 1,725 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions, former Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara transferred to Iowa and figures to be the starter in 2023. McNamara needed a new starting job after the Wolverines ultimately stuck with J.J. McCarthy in 2022.

–Field Level Media