March 7, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Not only is Brian Ferentz returning to the University of Iowa football program and rejoining his father, UI head coach Kirk Ferentz, as the offensive line coach... he's coming home.
"This is home, this is family and I feel like this program is family for me," said Brian Ferentz, who joins the Hawkeyes after serving four seasons with the NFL's New England Patriots. "It's important to me. It's near and dear to my heart, and this is an exciting time here.
"We are all excited. I think change can be a very healthy thing, and it was time for a change for me to grow, and hopefully I can be a part of the change of this program to do the same thing."
Brian Ferentz is one of three new additions to the Hawkeye coaching staff, along with offensive coordinator Greg Davis and linebackers coach LeVar Woods. Ferentz and Woods are both former Iowa lettermen.
"It was a no-brainer. You can't say no to your father. And for me it was hard to say no to Iowa. I know that sounds cheesy and corny, but it was. This is a special place. I believe that."
UI assistant coach Brian Ferentz
"LeVar and Brian know our program inside and out, and they have a great feel for it," said Kirk Ferentz. "I think with it comes new and unique perspective, not only coaching, a way to go about coaching; but also some of the things they have experienced are going to be helpful for us in recruiting.
"They are both guys that have done a great job in the past, and I'm really confident that they are going to do a great job."
After graduating from Iowa in 2006, Brian Ferentz spent two seasons as a player in the NFL. When coaching moved into the equation, he tried to find his way back to Iowa City as a graduate assistant. His father wasn't having it.
"I really thought it was important for him to get some distance from us," said Kirk Ferentz. "I thought that before he thought about ever coming back here he needed to get out and learn from other people."
And learn he did. Ferentz tutored under Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick, working his way through the organization from a scouting assistant in 2008 to the tight ends coach in 2011, helping the team to the AFC Championship and a spot in the 2012 Super Bowl.
When the opportunity arose to return to Iowa City as a member of the coaching staff, it was an easy decision for Brian Ferentz.
"It was a no-brainer," he said. "You can't say no to your father. And for me it was hard to say no to Iowa. I know that sounds cheesy and corny, but it was. This is a special place. I believe that."
It's because of those strong feelings for the program that Brian Ferentz doesn't think it will be difficult transition to jump into world of college football recruiting. He believes in the product he's selling, and he is living proof of the process.
"Having played here, it's a tremendous advantage when you're out there trying to put the program and plant that seed in people's minds that this is a good place to be," said Brian Ferentz. "I don't have to point any further than myself.
"I would say I've had some measure of success in my short life, but I would not have been able to do any of the things I've done without playing football here."
"We are losing a tremendous leader at the offensive line position," said Brian Ferentz. "I don't hope to replace coach Morgan or hope to be coach Morgan. I hope to be Brian Ferentz, but hopefully I can relate to players the way he did and build a relationship and trust with these guys. We all have to trust each other and they have to trust in me and I have to trust in them."
Brian Ferentz is familiar with at least one of the offensive linemen he is inheriting in 2012, as his younger brother, James, has been the team's starting center the past two seasons.
"It's certainly unique, and it's exciting, special," said Brian Ferentz of coaching his younger brother. "At the end of the day, he's a player, I'm his coach. It's my job to make sure that all of our players play at the standard that we set here and what we expect out of them is pretty simple -- to play with great effort and to do their best."
While Brian Ferentz knows it is a unique situation, joining the Iowa coaching staff with his father as the head coach, he likens it to his playing days with his father as his coach.
"The head coach is my father so certainly that's a unique situation," said Brian Ferentz. "But I played here and the head coach was my dad as a player, and I think as an assistant coach, it's not much different.
"At the Super Bowl I was asked a question about being on coach Belichick's staff and my answer was simple. It's our job as assistant coaches to make sure that the head coach's vision reaches the players, and I don't view my job any differently here. That's my job, and I'm going to do it."