Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes staff enter 2023 on a bit of a hot seat following an underwhelming season in 2022 and an offseason full of public ridicule over the extension of offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz.
As Ferentz heads into his 25th season as the head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes, he faces plenty of questions about his long-term outlook as the head coach.
Iowa Hawkeyes Coaching Staff 2023
Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz
Ferentz is the longest-tenured head football coach in the nation. He joined Hayden Fry’s Iowa staff as the offensive line coach in 1981 and continued as Iowa’s offensive line coach through the 1989 season.
Ferentz was named head coach of the University of Maine in 1990 and held that position for three years before being hired by Bill Belichick and the Cleveland Browns as their offensive line coach.
After six years in the NFL, Ferentz returned to be the head coach of Iowa in 1999, where he has remained since.
Ferentz has built a 187-115 record as the head coach of Iowa and he is tied for third all-time in Big Ten conference wins, and is fourth in overall wins. Ferentz has led Iowa to 20 bowl game appearances over his 24 years and is tied for the most all-time bowl wins among Big 10 coaches. He is almost assuredly a future college football Hall of Famer
Defensive Coordinator/Secondary: Phil Parker
Serving as Ferentz’s right-hand man throughout his career, Phil Parker has been with Ferentz at Iowa since 1999. Originally serving as defensive backs coach, Parker coached eight NFL draft selections, including Bob Sanders, before being elevated to defensive coordinator in 2012.
Since his hire as the defensive coordinator, Iowa’s defense has consistently ranked among the best in college football and has churned out NFL-caliber talent every season, with 22 players drafted from that side of the ball since 2011. His full coaching resume can be found below:
- Michigan State (Graduate Assistant, 1987)
- Toledo (Defensive Backs, 1988-98)
- Iowa (Defensive Backs, 1999-2011)
- Iowa (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs, 2012-Present)
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks: Brian Ferentz
Note: It’s been reported that Brian Ferentz will not return following the 2023 season.
The son of the head caoch, Brian Ferentz played at Iowa as an offensive lineman before starting his career in the NFL with the New England Patriots. With New England, Ferentz served as their tight ends coach in 2011, guiding Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to become the first pair of rookie tight ends with five touchdowns in the same season in NFL history.
Ferentz returned to coach Iowa’s offensive line in 2012, coaching talents like Brandon Scherff and Austin Blythe. Since he took over the Iowa offense in 2017, Ferentz has guided several talented offensive linemen and tight ends into the NFL. His full coaching resume can be found below:
- New England Patriots (Scouting Assistant, 2008; Coaching Assistant, 2009)
- New England Patriots (Offensive Assistant/Tight Ends, 2010)
- New England Patriots (Tight Ends, 2011)
- Iowa Hawkeyes (Offensive Line, 2012-14; OL/Run Game Coordinator, 2015-16)
- Iowa Hawkeyes (Offensive Coordinator/Running backs, 2017)
- Iowa Hawkeyes (OC/Tight Ends, 2018-2021; OC/Quarterbacks, 2022-Present)
Special Teams Coordinator: LeVar Woods
A former player under Ferentz from 1998-2000, LeVar Woods joined the Iowa staff as an administrative assistant in 2008 before working up to a full-time position coach in 2012 when he became Iowa’s linebackers coach/special teams coordinator.
Woods moved to the offensive side of the ball to coach tight ends from 2015 to 2017 before taking over full-time as the special teams coach in 2018.
Offensive Line Coach: George Barnett
George Barnett is in his third year as the offensive line coach at the University of Iowa after joining the staff in 2021. Barnett coached an offensive line led by unanimous consensus All-America center Tyler Linderbaum.
Linderbaum was the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and won the Rimington Trophy for the best center in the country. Linderbaum went on to be a first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Barnett has over 20 years of coaching in college, with previous stints at Tulane, Miami (OH), and Illinois State before arriving at Iowa.
Running Backs Coach: Ladell Betts
Ladell Betts was named Iowa’s running backs coach in 2021. Betts was a former running back for the Hawkeyes and is the second-leading rusher in program history.
Following his Iowa career, Betts was selected by Washington in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft. Betts played in the NFL for nine seasons, including eight with Washington and his final season with the New Orleans Saints. Betts joined the Hawkeye coaching staff after serving as head coach at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
He served as the head coach at Pine Crest for two seasons and was previously the offensive coordinator.
Wide Receivers Coach: Kelton Copeland
Kelton Copeland was named wide receivers coach at Iowa in 2017. Copeland joined the Hawkeye coaching staff after coaching wide receivers at Northern Illinois the previous four seasons. Copeland coached Ihmir Smith-Marsette to a fifth-round selection in 2021.
Tight Ends/Fullbacks Coach: Abdul Hodge
A former All-Big Ten linebacker at Iowa, Abdul Hodge was hired as Iowa’s tight ends/fullbacks coach in 2022. In his first season at Iowa, Hodge coached Sam LaPorta, who led the Hawkeyes in receiving with 58 receptions for 657 yards.
LaPorta was one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award and was selected in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.
Defensive Line: Kelvin Bell
Another former Iowa player, Kelvin Bell first got started at Iowa as their On-Campus Recruiting Director in 2014 before getting promoted to a defensive assistant coach/Recruiting Coordinator role in 2016.
Bell became Iowa’s full-time defensive line coach in 2019, where he has coached players like A.J. Epenesa, Chauncey Golston, Daviyon Nixon, and Lukas van Ness.
Assistant Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers: Seth Wallace
Seth Wallace was named linebackers coach at Iowa in January 2016. Before that, he served as Iowa’s recruiting coordinator in 2014 and 2015, and coached both the defensive line and cornerbacks in those years as well.
Iowa hired Wallace away from Valdosta State in Georgia, where he served as Defensive Coordinator from 2011 to 2013.