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Bob Stoops' longtime friendship with Iowa coach changes tone of bowl

BY BERRY TRAMEL Published: December 29, 2011

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 Ferentz.

At a bowl banquet Tuesday night, Carol Stoops brought an old picture from those days. The Stoopses, the Ferentzes and the Kittles (Bruce Kittle was an Iowa teammate who now is on Stoops' staff) were among a group playing Pictionary. Ferentz is drawing; Stoops is on the floor, looking confused.

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 Pittsburgh.”

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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.”

Kirk Ferentz

Iowa head football coach


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