IOWA CITY — The Iowa football coaching staff is now up to eight, one short of the full nine but it’s now closer to complete than it’s been in the last few months.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz announced the hirings of defensive coach Jim Reid and wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy. Ferentz also confirmed the departure of running backs coach Lester Erb and defensive backs coach Darrell Wilson, who was hired in the same position at Rutgers on Wendesday.
“I am very appreciative of Lester and Darrell’s many positive contributions to Iowa football over the years and wish them both the best moving forward,” Ferentz said in a statement. “I am excited to have Bobby and Jim join our staff. Both men have coaching experiences that will complement and supplement our staff and team in a positive way. Jim and Bobby are tremendous individuals who will be a good fit on our campus and great representatives of our university and football program.”
Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said Thursday that salary information for Reid and Kennedy would be available in a few days.
“Kirk and I sat down at the end of the season and he started to plot out where he was headed,” Barta said. “We had a search committee and Kirk came to me and said these are the two guys I want to make an offer to. I did meet them and talk to them, but when it gets to that point, I don’t sit down and talk X’s and O’s, that’s Kirk.”
With Erb and Wilson leaving, Iowa will have replaced six of the nine full-time assistants who began the 2011 season in a span of around 18 months. Barta is OK with the turnover. He has said in the past that he’s not a micromanager and reiterated that again Thursday.
“I would prefer not just in football but all of our sports not to have any [coaching] movement,” Barta said. “That would tell you that everything is stable and everything is working perfectly. That’s been a trademark of Kirk’s staff. But sometimes change can be good and because it’s happening, I’m going to say it’s good because I’m a glass half-full kind of guy.”
During the last offseason, Ferentz hired offensive coordinator Greg Davis, promoted defensive backs coach Phil Parker and brought in offensive line coach Brian Ferentz and linebackers coach LeVar Woods.
“Meeting these two guys and Greg last year, and of course I knew LeVar and Brian, the group Kirk’s putting together is a good fit in terms of skill and fit,” Barta said.
The bottom line is Iowa finished 4-8 last season. That was an eye opener for everyone Iowa football, from Ferentz to fans.
“It [4-8] resonated with Kirk, it resonated with me and it certainly resonated with our fans,” Barta said. “But when I say I’m not a micromanager, I have great confidence in Kirk’s abilities. He’s proven himself over and over in terms of his abilities and his fit. So, we sit down and talk about what his plans are, he tells me what he’s thinking and I’m behind him 100 percent.”
Reid, 62, is coming off being fired at the University of Virginia. Barta said he talked to Virginia officials and “they speak very highly of him.”
When asked where Reid might land on the staff, Barta deferred to Ferentz.
“Kirk is still going through the process of setting up 2013,” Barta said.
Iowa does have an opening at running backs, but the open-endedeness regarding Reid’s position is interesting.
The consensus at Virginia was head coach Mike London had to fire some assistants to save his job. He’s 16-21 in three seasons at UVA.
Reid led an improved defense the last three seasons. In 2012, Virginia ranked fourth in the ACC in total defense (353.3 yards per game), fourth in pass defense (208.4), third in first downs allowed (18.6) and
fourth in third-down conversion defense (30.7 percent).
As of now, Parker is headed into his second year as defensive coordinator; Reese Morgan is headed into his second year as D-line coach (after nine seasons as Iowa’s O-line coach) and Woods will be in his second year with the linebackers. Also, Eric Johnson assisted on the D-line last season along with his duties as recruiting coordinator.
One scenario could be a co-coordinator deal between Parker and Reid. Parker coached defensive backs for 24 seasons (11 at Toledo, 13 at Iowa) before his promotion last season. Woods played linebacker during his playing days, at Iowa and the NFL, so there is a comfort level for him there.
Kennedy, 45, spent two seasons as wide receivers coach at Colorado, his home state. The Colorado staff was blown up after a coaching change this offseason. Prior to Colorado, Kennedy spent seven seasons (2004-10) as wide receivers coach at Texas, where he also served his last six as the assistant recruiting coordinator.
Of course, Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis spent 13 seasons as Texas’ offensive coordinator (1998-2010), so there’s an obvious connection with Kennedy, who spent 1990-92 as a graduate assistant at Illinois and then Penn State.
Here’s the Iowa release:
Link to Hawkeyesports.com and interviews with Reid and Kennedy.