Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Iowa football: Ferentz named Big Ten coach of the year for third time


November 23, 2009

Kirk Ferentz is a father figure to his Iowa football players, and they credit him with fostering a winning bond.

On Monday, Ferentz was named Big Ten Conference coach of the year, marking the third time he has won the award.

“He’s been doing a great job, especially the last few years, of bringing us together as a team,” Hawkeye linebacker Pat Angerer said. “We’re definitely more of a family. You’re going to fight for your family and coach Ferentz treats us like his kids.”
As part of the contract extension Ferentz signed this year, he will receive a bonus of $25,000 for being named conference coach of the year.

Ferentz, the state’s highest-paid employee, earned about $2.9 million in 2008.

Angerer, who recorded a team-best 135 tackles, was among seven Iowa players to earn first-team recognition from either the coaches or the media.

The Hawkeyes (10-2) tied with Penn State for second place in the league, and remain in the hunt for a possible Bowl Championship Series bid.

It is Ferentz’s fourth 10-win season since taking over the program in 1999.

He also was the Big Ten’s coach of the year in 2002 and ’04.

“Obviously, I’m a little biased, but I think he deserves it,” Iowa tight end Tony Moeaki said. “He’s a great coach, great guy. It’s just a pleasure playing for him.”

Ferentz is the fourth person to be named Big Ten coach of the year at least three times. The others were Michigan’s Bo Schembechler, Penn State’s Joe Paterno and Iowa’s Hayden Fry.

“Even to be in that category in any fashion is very humbling,” Ferentz said.

Bryan Bulaga, a junior, was named offensive lineman of the year. Joining him on the media’s first team were senior offensive lineman Dace Richardson, senior tight end Moeaki, junior defensive end Adrian Clayborn, senior linebacker Angerer and sophomore safety Tyler Sash.

All six of those players were named to the coaches’ first team. Junior cornerback Amari Spievey was the seventh Hawkeye selected by the coaches.

Iowa thrived despite a series of injuries that led to 20 different players starting on offense.

The Hawkeyes won their first nine games for the first time in school history and challenged for the conference championship, losing on Nov. 14 at first-place Ohio State in overtime.

“This season we’ve had a lot of things we had to overcome,” Moeaki said. “And I think he was the reason we were able to do that.”

Iowa’s defense ranked 10th nationally, allowing 286.7 yards per game.

Adrian Clayborn tied for second in the Big Ten with 9.5 sacks.

“I had a pretty good season,” Clayborn said. “I was improving.”

Angerer was more critical of his performance, even though he is one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player.

“I don’t think I played good enough this year, to tell you the truth,” Angerer said. “There’s a million things I should have done differently.”

Iowa’s second-team picks were senior linebacker A.J. Edds, senior offensive lineman Rafael Eubanks, junior receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, senior offensive lineman Kyle Calloway and junior safety Brett Greenwood. Moeaki was a second-team media selection.

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