Kirk Ferentz to sign extension
Iowa announced Thursday it will extend coach Kirk Ferentz's contract through the 2020 season.
School officials expect Ferentz to sign the contract Friday, before he opens his 12th season for the Hawkeyes. Ferentz, the second-longest tenured coach in the Big Ten behind Penn State's Joe Paterno, will be paid $3,675,000 annually plus a longevity bump that begins at $325,000 and increases every year.
"I've said publicly, and privately to Kirk, that it would be my goal to have him retire at Iowa," Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said in a statement. "This contract is a statement supporting that commitment."
The ninth-ranked Hawkeyes, coming off an 11-2 season and a win in the Orange Bowl, return one of the best defenses in the nation and several offensive stars, including quarterback Ricky Stanzi and running back Adam Robinson. They host Eastern Illinois on Saturday.
Ferentz is 81-55 at Iowa with two co-Big Ten championships. He is a three-time Big Ten coach of the year who was named national coach of the year in 2002. Iowa has reached January bowl games in six of the last eight seasons.
Ferentz, 55, is one of eight FBS head coaches who have been in their current position since 1999.
"I am grateful to the University of Iowa and thrilled to begin my 12th season as head coach and 21st overall with this world class institution," Ferentz said in a statement. "The coaching staff, players and I are looking forward to competing this season."
Ferentz's name has been linked to a number of NFL openings since he won The Associated Press National Coach of the Year in 2002. He never made the jump from Iowa City, though, and now appears set to join Fry serving as head coach for at least 20 years.
"Kirk is arguably the best football coach in the country," Barta said. "Beyond that, he and his wife, Mary, are world-class people who care deeply about the university and the state."
Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.