Friday, June 02, 2006

Big money: Iowa boosts Ferentz's pay

June 2, 2006

Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa raised the salary of coach Kirk Ferentz on Friday in a deal that makes him one of the nation's highest paid college football coaches.

Ferentz, who has led the Hawkeyes to two Big Ten titles and four straight January bowl games, was given a restructured contract that boosts his annual salary to $2.84 million from $1.44 million, with a one-time payment of $1.4 million.

The deal does not extend his contract, which expires after 2012.

"Coach Ferentz is among the very best coaches in the nation and this compensation package is reflective of that," said Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby, who is leaving next month to become athletic director at Stanford.

The agreement "recognizes our confidence that coach Ferentz will continue to lead the University of Iowa football program to high achievement on and off the field in the years ahead."

Most of the nation's top college coaches have eclipsed the $2 million mark in recent years. Ferentz's deal makes him one of the best paid coaches in the Big Ten and vaults him past Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, who last month signed a seven-year extension reportedly worth $2.4 million in the first year.

Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer, Florida's Urban Meyer, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Texas' Mack Brown are all among the growing group of college football coaches making at least $2 million per year.

Ferentz, a former offensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns under Bill Belichick then briefly at Baltimore, has been courted by NFL owners in recent years. He is entering his eighth year at Iowa and has compiled a 49-36 record.

After a difficult start, Iowa has blossomed under his leadership.

In the last four years, the Hawkeyes won Big Ten titles in 2002 and 2004, tied a school record with 38 victories and finished in the Top 10 three times. Ferentz was voted The Associated Press Coach of the Year in 2002 and has twice been named Big Ten Coach of the Year.

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