Thursday, May 03, 2012

Kirk Ferentz's deal "as favorable for a coach as any"

May 3, 2012

From Marc Morehouse's article "On Iowa Daily Briefing 5.3.12 — Bowlsby and the Big 12"

Bob Bowlsby to Big 12 commissioner makes sense. (It’s not a done deal, at least not yet.) Let’s roll his resume.

He was the athletics director at the University of Northern Iowa from 1984 to 1991, where he hired Eldon Miller and Earle Bruce (not all that glitters is gold) and staged a men’s basketball game in the UNI-Dome against the Iowa Hawkeyes that drew a crazy 22,797 fans. (Panthers won, I was a student in the crowd.)

Bowlsby served as Iowa’s AD from 1991 through 2006, where he hired Kirk Ferentz and Steve Alford (not all that glitters is gold) and spearheaded the major renovation project at Kinnick Stadium (nearly $90 mill), among other endeavors. He left for Stanford in 2006, seeking a new challenge.

The Bowlsby-Bob Stoops thingie has reached mythical proportions. Who knows what happened. My theory is, yes, Stoops was interested in coming back to coach his alma mater. Maybe the search committee soured him. I don’t know that. Then, Oklahoma got heavily involved and that made a lot of sense, both with the tradition and the financials.

The Tom Davis thingie remains a clear misstep. I don’t remember anyone — ANYONE — standing up and saying that Alford was a bad idea. It clearly didn’t work. Not all that glitters is gold. Sometimes, you go the hard road to figure that out.

Bowlsby also worked as a national leader on various NCAA committees that required an enormous commitment. Most notably, he served as chairman of the NCAA wrestling committee and also spent five years on the NCAA men’s basketball committee, including two years as chairman in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

Bowlsby takes control of the situation, no matter what it might be. The Big 12 situation is nutty, to say the least. Bowlsby’s football acumen is unquestioned. Jim Harbaugh, two BCS bowls at Stanford. Kirk Ferentz, Kinnick renovation, ’02 and ’04 Big Ten titles.

Nutty Big 12, meet a football AD. Bowlsby wouldn’t be Texas AD DeLoss Dodds caddie. Texas will swing a mighty big stick. Will the league allow itself to be hostage to the Burnt Orange’s TV whims? I don’t think that would sit well with Bowlsby.

Remember that it took nearly two years before Ferentz signed his first contract with Iowa. That was super agent Neil Cornrich vs. Bowlsby. The cover was “separation language,” but who knows what it really was. That was the first time Iowa administration dealt with a real sports agent. Since, Ferentz’s deal has become as favorable for a coach as any. A happy coach is a coach who goes into his 14th season at the same school.

The Big 12 also contains Oklahoma, the Texas nemesis with a lot to say. It also welcomes TCU and West Virginia this season. It needs a strong hand. That’s Bowlsby.
The Big 12 is a gold mine of interesting football. Maybe a centralized network would help unlock that? TV would be job 1 for Bowlsby. No. 2 would be giving the league an air of stability.

But here we are nearly 11:30 a.m. Thursday with an offer on the table. The Big 12 needs Bowlsby more than he needs it.

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