Ferentz apologizes for criticizing reporter asking about son

kirk ferentz
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz apologized Wednesday night for publicly criticizing a reporter who asked him about his decision to keep son Brian Ferentz as offensive coordinator with the Hawkeyes’ offense performing so poorly this season.

Ferentz, umprompted, had said at his weekly news conference Tuesday that he had experienced an “interrogation” when Cleveland.com columnist Doug Lesmerises asked him about his son. That exchange occurred at the news conference following the 54-10 loss at No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday.

“The one good thing about it that dawned on me coming home … I said, man, as bad as today was, it could have been worse because I could have been that guy,” Ferentz told reporters Tuesday without naming Lesmerises. “I could have been that guy, had his job and had to act like he did. Yeah, it could be … a lot worse. All things aren’t that bad.”

In his emailed apology to the media, Ferentz said he should not have been dismissive “of one of your colleagues” and that his questions were fair.

“I have a high respect for the work that you do, and I am appreciative of how you cover our team,” Ferentz said in the statement. “You ask tough and pointed questions but do so with a high degree of professionalism. I tell our players to take the high road and yesterday, I did not do the same thing.”

Iowa (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) had just 158 total yards and committed six turnovers against the Buckeyes. The Hawkeyes’ average of 227.3 yards per game ranks last in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and the offense has scored just seven touchdowns in seven games.

Brian Ferentz has been offensive coordinator since 2017 and long a target for criticism because of nepotism.

Lesmerises asked Ferentz three questions at the end of the Ohio State news conference and, in prefacing one, pointed out that the Hawkeyes have one of the least productive offenses in the country.

“I’ve noticed that, yeah,” the elder Ferentz interjected.

“Everybody’s noticed it,” Lesmerises said. “Do you believe you’re putting the Iowa football program in a bad spot by having that kind of production on one side of the ball and it’s run by one of your family members?”

In response to the questions, Ferentz said it’s his preference to play out the season before making a decision on an assistant; the fact the offensive coordinator is his son is not an issue to him and that his assistants have demonstrated success and are good people; and the manner in which Brian will be evaluated after the season will be the same as with other assistants.

Lesmerises, who wrote a column critical of the Ferentz dynamic at Iowa, said in a text to The Associated Press that he had no problem with how Ferentz answered his questions or what he said Tuesday.

“I criticized him and he certainly has the right to respond however he sees fit,” Lesmerises said. “The issue remains how Kirk Ferentz and Iowa have handled the employment of Brian Ferentz.”

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”