Feb. 15, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Whether they know it or not, Nick Bell and Matt Roth were influential in the University of Iowa landing two assistant football coaches who were officially announced yesterday.
Bell lettered as a running back at the University of Iowa from 1988-90; Roth as a defensive end from 2001-04.
Kennedy was a graduate assistant at Illinois during the 1990 season when the fifth-ranked Illini hosted No. 13 Iowa. Bell rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns that day as the Rose Bowl-bound Hawkeyes prevailed, 54-28.
"I still kid people that back in 1990 when we played, Nick Bell ran over us; they have one of my Rose Bowl rings," Kennedy said. "I'm looking forward to getting one with the University of Iowa."
"I got a number of calls, and certainly the University of Iowa is a place everybody would like to be. It's a great place, it's a great institution, it has a great, great head football coach -- a man that is focused on his players, their everyday achievement, and a great vision of what he would like his program to be here for 14 or 15 years. He is someone you want to work with and work for, and it wasn't a very hard decision."
Reid coached outside linebackers for the Miami Dolphins in 2008 and '09; Roth was moved to outside linebacker in 2008, when the Dolphins needed to win seven of their final eight games to make the playoffs.
"My feeling about Iowa is through Matt Roth. I coached Matt Roth at the Miami Dolphins," Reid said. "Matt was a young man of great character, great determination, and great concentration to become a great player. In the last eight games, Matt Roth never had a mental error and was probably a major factor in four of those wins. I enjoyed working with him, so that was a real nice connection with the University of Iowa, and I'm sure that all these players are as mentally focused and as tough as Matt Roth was."
Kennedy, 46, and Reid, 62, spent time with hawkeyesports.com Thursday, when it was announced they would join the Hawkeye football coaching staff.
Kennedy worked seven seasons with UI offensive coordinator Greg Davis at Texas; he spent the past two seasons as receivers coach at Colorado.
"Creating an atmosphere of explosive offense," Kennedy said of his first order of business in Iowa City. "Offense has to increase its production here, and that's one thing I would like to get done: be a high-scoring, powerful offense."
Kennedy said the Hawkeye receivers on the roster, combined with incoming recruits, reminds him of one of his first groups of Longhorns.
"They didn't have a lot of fanfare, but they were willing to work and they were capable of catching the ball," Kennedy said.
He has been watching the Hawkeye receivers on film and added: "They do a good job on the perimeter blocking, but they haven't had that breakout time yet, so hopefully they will continue to grow."
Kennedy has another connection to the UI in former player Jim Caldwell, now offensive coordinator with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
"Also a big influence in my life, and a guy who has mentored me, is Jim Caldwell," Kennedy said. "He played here and he has always said great things about the University of Iowa. I know coach (Kirk) Ferentz talked to him when we started to talk."
A defining Hawkeye moment for Reid was the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl, when he watched a Norm Parker-crafted defensive scheme baffle Georgia Tech during a 24-14 Iowa victory. Reid says both he and Parker have an "old-time flavor."
Reid picked Parker's brain after that FedEx Orange Bowl, and he has done so more since his arrival to the Hayden Fry Football Complex. Reid is a graduate of the University of Maine where Ferentz was head coach from 1990-92.
"I got a number of calls, and certainly the University of Iowa is a place everybody would like to be," Reid said. "It's a great place, it's a great institution, it has a great, great head football coach -- a man that is focused on his players, their everyday achievement, and a great vision of what he would like his program to be here for 14 or 15 years. He is someone you want to work with and work for, and it wasn't a very hard decision."
Of Reid's 38 seasons in the profession, almost half were spent as a head coach, most recently at Virginia Military Institute. He was there for two seasons before joining the Dolphins. From 2010-12, Reid was associate head coach and defensive coordinator for the University of Virginia.
"Any coach, whether it be as an individual position or as a coordinator or as a head coach, takes special pride -- as I did with Matt Roth -- in having them know and understand his assignments," Reid said. "(He can) never be afraid to make a mistake, so he can play instinctively, because he understands what's happening in terms of scheme and how we're being attacked by an offense. When they have a great understanding of that, then they can play fast, hard, free, and tough and it embodies all of the great spirit of the game. Any place I have gone I have hoped to be able to teach that to my individual position group."