I don’t know if you heard about or read the accusations leveled against the Iowa football program that emerged this past weekend. The most telling part of the story isn’t the accusations themselves. It’s what head coach Kirk Ferentz said in response to being asked about them.
“I don’t want to say I was blind-sided,” Ferentz said during a Sunday call with media, “… but the bottom line is we don’t want anybody to leave this place not feeling like this was a good experience.”
… Most coaches know the line between demanding and demeaning. Ferentz has called for a “cultural shift” in the program. Asked what that culture was before the past week, he said, “you could argue, in my mind, it’s been healthy.”
Ferentz added: “[But] in the last 48 hours, I learned of things that needed more attention. However you want to break it down, I’m the one who is responsible.”
… Asked whether he feared for his job, Ferentz said, “That’s really not my frame of work. But I did ask multiple players if they feel like I’m part of the problem or if they feel like we can’t move forward with me here, I’d appreciate that feedback. That’s not what I’ve heard thus far.”
I don’t doubt that Ferentz was being sincere when he said those things yesterday. But here’s a guy who’s been in the business of coaching young men seemingly forever — Ferentz is 65 and has been Iowa’s head coach for more than two decades — who claims he wasn’t ready for the outbreak of emotion and frustration that has enveloped his program.
Coaches, especially ones who have coached as long as Ferentz has, are notorious control freaks. How does something like this go unnoticed and unchecked as long as it has without the head coaching knowing about it, without the ignorance being at least somewhat wilful? Beats me.