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Iowa AD Gary Barta has ‘full faith’ in offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz despite offense not ‘clicking’
Barta waiting to do ‘our full evaluation’ until end of season
IOWA CITY — Iowa athletics director Gary Barta is well aware of the Iowa football team’s offensive shortcomings.
“Clearly our offense isn’t clicking right now,” Barta said.
But Barta continues to have “full faith” in offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, as he does in head coach Kirk Ferentz and Iowa’s roster, he told Iowa’s Presidential Committee on Athletics.
“We know we have to get better,” Barta told The Gazette in a one-on-one interview afterward. “Kirk knows, Brian knows, student-athletes know and I’m really absolutely confident that they’re going to continue to make progress.”
Iowa’s offense is among the worst in the country in several categories. Along with being 130th out of 131 FBS teams in yards per game, it ranks 122nd in points per game, 124th in yards per carry, 114th in completion percentage and 122nd in third-down conversion percentage.
Barta said he is waiting to do a “full evaluation” of Brian Ferentz until the end of the season, as he does in many coaching situations. (Last year’s midseason firing of head volleyball coach Vicki Brown was an exception.)
“I observe every day, but I evaluate at the end of every year,” Barta said.
Kirk Ferentz said he would be open to changing his staff in the middle of a season if he “thought it was going to serve an end.”
“But I’ve never been in that situation as an assistant or a head coach,” he said Tuesday. “Certainly as an assistant I never thought I should be changed out.”
Barta, not Kirk Ferentz, is officially Brian Ferentz’s supervisor because of the University of Iowa’s nepotism policy.
Barta’s patience has been a different approach from what his Big Ten counterpart to the northeast has taken. Wisconsin fired its head football coach Paul Chryst after a 2-3 start to the season despite his 67-26 overall record.
Nebraska also parted ways with Scott Frost early in the season, but that was after Frost had a paltry 16-31 overall record.
Barta, who has been Iowa’s AD since 2006, believes in “sticking with a coach that you trust.”
“Once we find a coach that we believe in, there are going to be ups and downs,” Barta said. “During those less successful times, just being here to help them, sticking through it and not overreacting or reacting too quickly — so far, it’s worked out well for us over the years.”
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa’s all-time winningest football coach, has a contract that gives him more job security than many of his colleagues across college football. His latest extension, signed at the end of last year, goes through January 2030.
If Iowa were to fire Kirk Ferentz on Jan. 31, 2023, the 24th-year head coach would be owed $42 million — almost four times Wisconsin’s negotiated buyout for Chryst.
Kirk Ferentz also has a resume that adds to his job security.
His 181 wins at Iowa are the most in program history and the fourth-most in Big Ten history.
He has an all-time winning percentage of .618. From 2017-21 — the last five full seasons — he had a 43-18 record.
“I've always been appreciative of working in a good, stable environment,” Kirk Ferentz said. “Don't take it for granted.”