Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz could be seeing his career come to an end. The Lincoln Journal Star‘s Steve Sipple wrote on Thursday he’s been told by sources close to the team that the coach has coached his last game in Iowa City. The writer believes allegations made against assistants who have worked under Ferentz will eventually be too much for the longest-tenured head coach in college football to withstand.
“Of course, it’s possible Kirk Ferentz, Iowa’s head coach since 1999, will survive the wave of controversy that’s rocked his program, but his future with the school is suddenly shaky.”
Iowa’s strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle had more than 40 players make allegations of racist behavior against him. Most of those players claimed the way he behaved towards black student-athletes created a culture where they were constantly uncomfortable. Those players said they didn’t feel like they could be themselves when they were on campus.
After dozens of players came forward, Doyle was put on leave. He then took to Twitter to proclaim his innocence and allege that someone at Iowa had told him to keep quiet. He did this while Ferentz was talking to the media about the issue. When the head coach was asked about Doyle’s comments, those on the conference call described Ferentz’s comments and behavior as attempting to straddle the line between being on the side of his players and his assistants.
Sipple said he’s making an educated guess that Ferentz is done with the Hawkeyes. He added that he’s making that guess based on “reading the room” and taking what he’s heard from those who work in and around the football program. The writer admits there is a chance Iowa could find a way through this without having to look for a new head coach, but that seems unlikely.
Sipple compared the situation to one that happened at the University of Maryland a few years ago. Several Terapins alleged then head coach DJ Durkin had created a toxic environment that led to the death of a player. Sipple admitted there were no deaths at Iowa but the claims of a toxic culture are usually the death knell of a coaching career. However, Durkin didn’t have the same legacy at Maryland that Ferentz created in Iowa. Still, the writer believes Ferentz has a harder time claiming he had no idea what Doyle was doing or that players were unhappy considering how long it has supposedly been going on.
Sipple believes that with the college football world getting back to work this month, and the season still set to start in August, Ferentz’s bosses will signal to the public what their plans are relatively soon.