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Harty: Brian Ferentz the right person for the job

[ 2 ] April 4, 2012 |

It’s been reported that Kirk Ferentz’s decision to hire his son as the new Iowa offensive line coach is under scrutiny.

In this case, the only ones still doing the scrutinizing is the media.

University of Iowa athletic officials, most notably Athletics Director Gary Barta, approved hiring Brian Ferentz as offensive line coach not soon after Brian said he wanted the job.

Most Iowa fans seem to have embraced the decision, too. And why shouldn’t they, given Brian’s track record?

Special steps were taken to hire Brian Ferentz because UI has a policy that strongly advises against the hiring of immediate family members.

I’m all for policies against nepotism because the workplace usually isn’t meant to be a family affair.

But I also believe in hiring the right person for the job. And on paper, it’s hard to argue against the hiring of Brian Ferentz.

Not only was he working for arguably the best NFL franchise going these days in the New England Patriots as tight ends coach, Brian Ferentz also played on the offensive line at Iowa, was raised by a father whose expertise is the offensive line and was born with a gift to communicate.

It’s hard to say how Brian, 29, stacked up against his competition without knowing any of the other names. He reportedly was picked from a list of 102 candidates.

But it’s also hard to picture somebody else as a better fit than Brian under the circumstances.

I remember thinking when Brian played at Iowa that he was a coach waiting-to-happen because of how well he expressed himself and because of how much he loved and knew about the game.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

“You could always see it in Brian, even when we were young,” said Brian’s younger brother James Ferentz, who is Iowa’s starting center and its most experienced offensive lineman. “He’s just a great teacher. He’s always had a gift of connecting with people. And football is obviously something he’s really smart about and has great knowledge.”

James Ferentz was among a handful of Iowa players that met with reporters Wednesday for the latest updates on spring practice.

James was asked more questions about Brian than he was about himself. James had better get used to it because this story isn’t going away.

And it shouldn’t go away because it’s an intriguing story more than a controversial one.

I can’t imagine there are many college teams where the coach has his oldest son coaching the offensive line, his second oldest son starting at center and his third and youngest son, Steven Ferentz, set to join the team as a walk-on tight end.

I also can’t imagine Kirk Ferentz taking a chance on hiring his son if he didn’t believe strongly that Brian was ready for the challenge. The Hawkeyes haven’t exactly been on a roll lately, so Kirk needs all the help he can get.

Brian’s outgoing personality coupled with his age should make him a hit on the recruiting trail. It’ll sound good when Brian explains to recruits why he left the New England Patriots to work at his beloved alma mater and in a town that means so much to him.

Some people also questioned why Kirk Ferentz would have Brian and James on scholarship at Iowa given Kirk’s lucrative salary.

Kirk put them on scholarship because he felt they deserved it. Brian and James then went out and proved it by becoming starters.

The challenge for Brian now is to prove his dad right again.

Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or pharty@press-citizen.com

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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