With eye on rash of arrests, Hawkeyes hire director of player development

Updated: September 22, 2008, 6:00 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com

Iowa has hired former defensive back Chigozie Ejiasi to be its director of player development following a rash of off-field problems involving football players.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz promoted Ejiasi, who has served as an administrative assistant for the team the last two years. Ferentz chose Ejiasi from a pool of more than 100 applicants.

"We created this position to assist our student-athletes in the transition from high school to college and to help make their experience at Iowa as positive as possible," Ferentz said in a statement. "We're venturing into new territory with this position and we all expect it to change and evolve as we move forward. ... [Ejiasi] has the respect of our student-athletes and he shares the vision of our coaching staff regarding expectations of the position. We're all looking forward to what Chigozie brings to our program."

Iowa has had 19 players arrested since April 2007, including sophomore linebacker Dezman Moses, who was arrested early Sunday for public intoxication. Ferentz, who first approached athletic director Gary Barta about adding a player development position last year, has repeatedly said the position won't be "a panacea" for the team's off-field conduct but can help to improve it.

Ejiasi, 26, played on Iowa's Big Ten championship teams in 2002 and 2004.

"Chigozie is a young man of high integrity who has earned the respect and trust of our student-athletes and coaches," Barta said in a statement. "Will he be an immediate cure for all the challenges facing our program, and college athletics in general? Absolutely not. But, I'm confident he'll help to move us in the right direction."

Adam Rittenberg covers the Big Ten for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espnritt@gmail.com.