Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz quietly became the top wage earner in the Big Ten last week. It was announced that Ferentz was given an extension (five additional years) and an increased of salary to 3.6 million per year. If Ferentz completes this phase of the contract he will be the Hawkeye coach for 10 more years.
In typical Ferentz fashion, he didn't beat his chest and declare he was the greatest coach in the Big Ten Conference or the universe. He calmly thanked the university for the opportunity and then probably wished everyone would go forward with their own lives.
Ferentz is a quiet, private guy who doesn't embrace the spotlight. He manages it well despite being the state's top paid public employee and residing in a fish bowl called Iowa Hawkeye sports.
The guy is a football CEO. He shows little emotion on the sidelines except for an occasional disagreement with an official--then you can see the veins in his neck. He is loyal to his assistant coaches and they stick around for him. Ferentz is an old football guy who likes to continue with plays and philosophy that brings success. He takes players who often aren't great players and develops them into great players in his system. Simply, he operates a winning program.
He and his wife, Mary, give of his wealth back to the university. The report is that he treats little kids well. Overall, he is known as a solid, decent guy.
People use to complain about Ferentz's salary. But these days there is little such talk. The football CEO has Iowa ready to challenge for another special season and many people want to enjoy the ride.