2nd-year coach says Hawkeyes remain hungry during spring ball
Assistant coaches LeVar Woods and Chris White meet with the media
Hawkeye assistant coaches gather with media during spring drills
Hawkeye junior defensive tackle Carl Davis
Pair of first-year coaches meet with the media
Nebraska at Iowa Friday, Nov. 23, 2012
LeVar Woods, a three-year football letterman at the University of Iowa and a veteran of seven seasons in the National Football League, is in his third season coaching the Iowa linebackers. Woods previously served as an administrative assistant with the Iowa program since September, 2008.
In 2013, Woods joined with Jim Reid in coaching three senior linebackers who served as the leaders of Iowa's defense. Anthony Hitchens, Christian Kirksey and James Morris each recorded over 100 tackles as all three earned all-Big Ten recognition. The trio each recorded over 250 career tackles and combined for 950 total tackles in helping Iowa appear in three bowl games over the past four seasons.
Kirksey was selected in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft by Cleveland, while Hitchens was selected by Dallas in the fourth round. Morris signed an NFL free agent contract (New England) immediately following the 2014 draft.
Due to the play of the Iowa defense, Woods and Reid were named by FootballScoop as national Linebackers Coaches of the Year. Iowa earned a spot in the 2014 Outback Bowl behind a solid defense that ranked among the national leaders in total defense (6th), first downs allowed (7th) pass defense (9th), scoring defense (9th), pass efficiency defense (17th) and rushing defense (19th). The Hawkeyes posted an 8-5 overall record, including a 5-3 Big Ten record to tie for second in the Legends Division.
Under the direction of Woods, Iowa's linebackers also held the top three spots on the tackle chart in 2012. Hitchens not only led Iowa in tackles, but also led the Big Ten and ranked sixth in the nation. Morris ranked third in the Big Ten and 13th in the nation. Kirksey was third on the team in tackles, while ranking second in the nation with four recovered fumbles. He was also one of eight players in the nation with two touchdowns on interception returns.
Woods served as Iowa's defensive line coach in the 2011 Insight Bowl. Despite the loss to 14th-ranked Oklahoma, the Hawkeye defense held the Sooners to a season-low 275 yards total offense and just 114 net rushing yards. Iowa linemen recorded four tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception.
Iowa has participated in 11 bowl games since 2001, including the 2014 Outback Bowl. The Hawkeyes won bowl games following the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons, defeating ranked opponents in both 2009 and 2010. The Hawkeyes have ranked in the final top 10 of both major polls four times in the past 12 seasons.
Iowa has appeared in seven January bowl games since 2001. The Hawkeyes have won 6-of-11 bowl games under Kirk Ferentz and his staff, including four January bowl victories. The January Bowl wins have come over Florida (2004 Outback), LSU (2005 Capital One), South Carolina (2009 Outback) and Georgia Tech (2010 Orange).
Iowa has won 97 games over the past 12 seasons, including 57 Big Ten games. The Hawkeyes earned a share of the Big Ten title in both 2002 and 2004 and tied for second in 2009. Iowa has finished in the Big Ten's first division in 11 of the past 13 years.
As an administrative assistant, Woods assisted the coaching staff in compiling statistical information, gathering information on opponents and recruits and assisting in the day to day operation of the football office.
During his NFL playing career, Woods played for Arizona, Chicago, Detroit and Tennessee. Woods signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in 2001 and spent the first four years of his career in Arizona.
In 88 career games Woods totaled 168 tackles, 2.5 QB sacks, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Woods teams with fellow NFL player Kyle Vanden Bosch (both are graduates of West Lyon HS in Inwood, Iowa) in hosting a youth football camp in their hometown. He has also founded the LeVar Woods Football Academy in Okoboji, Iowa, teaching fundamentals and techniques to youth and high school athletes.
During his stint with the Cardinals, Woods was named a finalist for both the Byron "Whizzer" White and Walter Payton Man of the Year awards, recognizing his contributions to charity.
Woods has been involved with several charitable organizations throughout his career, including the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids foundation, Homeward Bound, Soup Kitchen, Youth Christmas shopping trips and, Milk and Cookies Youth Reading Program, along with speaking engagements to elementary school children. Woods has also been instrumental in developing the Hawkeye Readers youth reading program in conjunction with the Iowa City: UNESCO City of Literature, which helps promote the importance of literacy to children.
He has also been involved with the NFL's Executive and Entrepreneurship programs through the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, the Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University and the Stanford School of Business.
Woods lettered as a member of the Hawkeye football team from 1998-2000. He was a two-year starter at outside linebacker, totaling 165 career tackles, including 18 tackles for loss and four sacks.
He was a team captain as a senior in 2000 and earned honorable mention all-Big Ten honors from both league coaches and media after recording 97 tackles. He was selected for the Blue-Gray All-Star game following his senior season.
Along with serving as defensive team captain, Woods was co-Most Valuable Player and the recipient of the Hayden Fry "Extra Heartbeat Award", given each year to the Hawkeye player who gives extraordinary effort on the field.
Woods attended West Lyon HS in Inwood, Iowa, where he earned all-state honors and was the Class 2A Player of the Year as a senior. He rushed for 1,226 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior, while totaling 50 tackles, nine QB sacks and two recovered fumbles as a defensive end.
He earned his degree in elementary education from the University of Iowa in December, 2000.
Woods was born March 15, 1978, in Cleveland, Ohio. LeVar and his wife, Meghann, have three children, daughters Sydney and Whitney, and a son, Mason.
WOODS' COACHING CAREER
Iowa LB, 2012-present
Iowa AA, 2008-11
WOODS ON IOWA
"Joining the coaching staff at the University of Iowa is a great opportunity for me and my family. To be back in a city we love in Iowa City, back in the state of Iowa and at a University where I was able to play football and earn my degree, is a great feeling. The opportunity to play football under Coach Ferentz, and be a member of the coaching staff, is unbelievable. As a player, I admired Coach Ferentz and the way he developed players; not only as athletes, but developing them from young men into adults.
At Iowa I have the opportunity to work and coach with a great group of guys and a great coaching staff. It means everything to me. I came here as a boy, grew up here and became a man. I met my wife here, we have two beautiful children; I am a Hawkeye through and through. It is a privilege to be able to work with a staff that helped me grow and mature into the man I am today.
The city of Iowa City and the state of Iowa are unique. Until you visit and become a part of Iowa City, you have no idea. When you see Iowa City on a game weekend, there is nothing like it; our fans are the best in the country. You can't find this type of support just anywhere. Iowans and Hawkeye fans are loyal and proud, and it's an honor to represent them as a member of the Hawkeye coaching staff."