TEMPE, Ariz. — University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said bowl game functions can be uncomfortable, since opposing coaches often are thrust together and expected to act chummy.
That's not been a problem this week.
The University of Oklahoma plays the Hawkeyes on Friday night in the Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium, and it's been old home week for OU coach Bob Stoops and Ferentz, who 30 years ago began a relationship that remains strong.
“We were with their staff (Wednesday night), and it was really fun,” Ferentz said. “It was actually really fun. Something I was looking forward to.
“Known he and Carol (Bob's wife) forever. For my money, Bob does as good a job as anybody in college football. There are not many better than Bob, and one of the best people around, too.”
Ferentz joined the Iowa coaching staff in 1981, when Stoops was a junior safety. Two years later, Stoops joined the staff as a graduate assistant and worked five years with
At a bowl banquet
Ferentz was 25 when hired full time onto Hayden Fry's staff. Fry suggested Ferentz lied about his age to get the job. “Wouldn't doubt it,” Stoops said, busting his old pal. “He is from
That's an inside joke for someone from Youngstown, Ohio.
Stoops and Ferentz have spent the week swapping old stories.
Stoops told the story of Mary Ferentz wanting her husband to paint the house, but Ferentz really didn't know anything about painting a house. Stoops had painted houses for years, helping his father during the summers back in Youngstown, so he did the job.
“I knew what to do and how to do it,” Stoops said. “He was scared to get up to the peak. Needless to say, we had a good time after it was done.”
Stoops joked that no way could Ferentz afford Stoops now. “I cost too much,” Stoops said.
Ferentz was asked why he and Stoops, fairly straight-laced coaches, didn't mimic the flamboyant Fry.
“We are smart enough to know not to try to copy that guy,” Ferentz said. “Coach Fry is one of a kind. My guess is he has had that personality his whole life, just like I have had my bad one my whole life.”
And Ferentz also spoke extensively about OU receivers coach Jay Norvell, who played at Iowa in the 1980s.
“We have always had a tradition of great stories at Iowa,” Ferentz said. “We have to have great stories if we are going to have success. Norvell is one of those things. I think he played defensive back, line
And now their teams meet in a bowl game that could help soothe disappointing seasons. The 9-3 Sooners were in national championship contention until losing two of their last three games. The 7-5 Hawkeyes have lost three of their last five.
“We will all compete as hard as we can Friday night against each other,” Ferentz said. “That's the nature of what we do. There is a million story lines here, and those are all good. That's really the fun part about what it is we're doing.”
We will all compete as hard as we can Friday night against each other. That's the nature of what we do. There is a million story lines here, and those are all good. That's really the fun part about what it is we're doing.”