After the first undefeated regular season in the Kirk Ferentz era, a coach who was once on the perpetual hot seat heading in to every season has earned some time off of that perch — permanently.
On Tuesday, his future as the Iowa Hawkeyes head coach was cemented with the announcement of a contract extension that will see him under contract to 2026. It also means that Ferentz is not going anywhere anytime soon and is likely retiring as the head coach at the University of Iowa.
“I’ve said it many times, I would like Kirk to retire as a Hawkeye, and this contract is a strong statement toward that commitment,” said Iowa athletic director Gary Barta. “Kirk’s dedication to the football program and the University of Iowa has brought national attention and recognition to the Hawkeyes for nearly 20 years.”
Not only did they extend his contract, they gave Ferentz a massive payday. He will now be making $4.5 million annually. Ferentz owns a 128-87 record as he begins his 18th season at the helm of the Iowa program.
Many believed that Ferentz wasn’t going to ever go anywhere given Iowa’s athletic department budget situation and his insane buyout clause, especially since they never made a move when the program was slipping and the fans were getting restless prior to the last few seasons.
We’re guessing none of that changed with Ferentz’s latest extension on his contract.
So, for better or for worse, the Hawkeyes are sticking with Ferentz until he wants to retire. The ball is completely in his court now, because financially speaking this extension without a re-working of the buyout paints the Iowa athletic department in to a corner.
Barring something insane happening off the field or in the classroom, Ferentz will get to do what most coaches in college football dream about — go out on his own terms when he is good and ready to.
When that will be is anyone’s guess, and Ferentz certainly hasn’t given any indication he is ready to hang up his whistle for the reigning Big Ten West division champions.