CHICAGO — Kirk Ferentz is well aware that he was named one of the five worst coaches in college football recently.
“If you lived in Iowa, you probably couldn’t help but see it,” Ferentz said Wednesday.
Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated put Ferentz on his worst-coach list, writing, “The 2009 Orange Bowl proved an aberration in Ferentz’s otherwise unimpressive recent tenure. Take away that one 11-2 season and the Hawkeyes are 47-41 since 2005 under their $3.6 million-per-year coach.”
Reaction in the Hawkeye State was swift.
“Folks, I have never seen a fan base defend a coach coming off a 4-8 season the way Iowa fans defended Ferentz this week,’ Mandel wrote. “It’s been incredible.”
Iowa fans, Ferentz saw your reaction as well.
“It’s kind of ironic, but in our own state I probably read more good things about what we’ve done after that than probably any time in the last five years,” Ferentz said. “So it had a funny twist to the whole thing.”
Ferentz was third on Mandel’s list of the best college coaches in 2006.
“I don’t think you have to be a Rhodes Scholar to figure out if your team wins the Orange Bowl and you’re seventh in the country, they’re going to think you’re a good coach,” Ferentz said. “And if you go 4-8, you’re not so good. It comes with the territory. I figured out when I was a little kid that it’s more fun when you win than when you lose. And if you can’t handle that, it’s probably time to get out.”
Getting better, Ferentz said, is more important.
“I don’t stay awake at night worrying too much about what anyone writes, with all due respect,” Ferentz said. “I worry about what we’re doing as a program and as a team. About how can we get better and get back on the good list, back in the positive column.”
POWELL UPDATE: Junior college transfer Damond Powell, expected to bolster Iowa’s wide receiver position, is still finishing his academic requirements and hasn’t made it to Iowa City yet.
“We really like him,” Ferentz said. “He’s a high-energy guy and, I think, a good player. The biggest concern is just what conditioning level he’ll be at when he gets here.”
The 5-foot-11 Powell from Toledo, Ohio, had 41 catches for 1,231 yards as a sophomore at Snow Community in Ephraim,Utah. Ferentz said he knew Powell would have academic work to do before enrolling at Iowa when he was recruited.