Why Kirk Ferentz Does Not Fit at Notre Dame
Kirk Ferentz is no stranger to rumors—he seems to have his name thrown into more possible coaching replacement discussions than can be counted on one hand any given year.
The Big Ten Coach of the Year was originally penned into the Notre Dame coaching job discussion by a story run in the Chicago Sun-Times way back on Nov. 15.
Now that the Irish have officially dumped Charlie Weis, it seems every media outlet has planted Ferentz on what they believe should be Notre Dame's short list—though it's extremely short-sighted.
Ferentz and Weis share a common acquaintance in Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, and their salaries are similar. That's about all that could be tying the Iowa head coach into this messy equation.
Though it's all very clear-cut in Ferentz's case.
Notre Dame would need to change too much for Ferentz to be the proper fit.
Ferentz is Catholic (for what it's worth), and it's true that Notre Dame would benefit from a coach with a style similar to that of Ferentz—a focused running attack and strong defense—but let's face it: Kirk Ferentz is not flashy enough for the Notre Dame fans or the program's tradition.
How would Ferentz adapt to Notre Dame's storied pep rally tradition? Even though Ferentz isn't given much slack when the Hawkeyes struggle, he is still deeply loved by his players and the Iowa faithful. However, it's hard to see him waving his arms around in Lou Holtz fashion.
Ferentz is not one to get people fired up. He always maintains a calm, collected demeanor—with the rare exception of getting in a referee's ear, but even that takes a downright outrageous call.
It's safe to say "Ferentz" wasn't the name that came to many Notre Dame fans' minds when rumors started swirling that Weis was soon to be ousted. I can't claim to know the pulse of the Irish on the subject, but I imagine I'm close to being correct.
Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer make a lot more sense, but they have something very important in common with Ferentz—they're sitting pretty in their respective programs, too.
Notre Dame's helmets are the only thing golden about the state of Fighting Irish football. It would take a lot of persuasion—or a mighty large paycheck—to get any of these coaches to move location.
Getting Ferentz to up and move could take even more persuasion. Ferentz's son is a freshman for the Hawkeyes, and he has two other children attending the University. That's a lot of relocation that would be a major pain to deal with.
Yet at first glance, Ferentz's name admittedly sounds good when thrown into the mix. Take a close look, though.
During Weis' tenure, he accumulated a record of 35-27 (.565) with the Fighting Irish. Ferentz is 80-55 (.593) in his time spent coaching the Hawkeyes.
Ferentz is recognized for turning the Hawkeyes around after his team limped through its first seasons under his lead. A similar struggle is likely for Notre Dame's new coach, which makes one wonder: Is there enough patience in South Bend for Ferentz?
Ferentz is also known for picking up the recruits that fly under other teams' radars and turning them into surprise NFL-caliber athletes.
Weis, on the other hand, has ruined Notre Dame's recruiting program, but would Ferentz bringing in his usual under the radar recruits appease the Notre Dame faithful who still want blue chippers?
No way that would fly in South Bend.
Though Ferentz will likely keep his cards close throughout the entire discussion, this shouldn't be confused as proving he's actually considering the job. Hawkeye fans and others used to Ferentz know he keeps a tight lip about everything personal—it's simply how he operates.
In an article run by the (Cedar Rapids) Gazette before Iowa's final game against Minnesota, Ferentz discussed the Notre Dame job rumors and was quoted as saying, "That's the last thing I've thought about. I've been here 20 years and I kind of like my job. I like where I'm at."
The Iowa Hawkeyes like where he's at, too.
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