Wooden: Hawkeye fans need to demand more

Iowa nice has been a detriment to many parts of the state, schools, and football program. It is not enough to just be nice. If change will ever come to Iowa, it will need to start with the fans demanding more.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Shirtless Iowa fans cheer during the Iowa/Ohio State football game in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. (File Photo/The Daily Iowan)

Glenn “Sonnie” Wooden Jr., [email protected]

Iowa Nice and its fans are detriments to the Hawkeye football program. Hawkeye fans get excited when Iowa beats a team such as Boston College even though it has 7-6 record.

Yes, fans should be excited about the victory, but the win should be expected — not a surprise. To make things worse, the Hawkeye fan base continues to cheer for a coach who has an abysmal won-loss record. The Hawkeyes’ only brand recognition is the Tigerhawk, which the marketing team throws on everything it can. Really cool.

It seems as though the Hawkeye football team isn’t allowed to have a personality. It has zero sideline props: Miami has the turnover chain, Alabama has a Ball Out Belt for takeaways, and even Minnesota runs on the field with Oars for its Row the Boat slogan.

Every time I go to a game, I watch the Oakley- and cargo-shorts wearing, translucently pale fans cheer for mediocrity. At this point, I find it hilarious. I laugh, because fans are insane to expect a different result from a person who has been doing the same thing for 20 years. The fans need to demand more.

Ferentz is 7-8 in bowl games, which comes out to a percentage of .467. If we use a grading scale, Ferentz completely fails. So, he isn’t even an average coach in the games that matter the most, the actual “championship games” (quotes because we have never been to an actual championship).

In the regular season, Ferentz is 143-97 which comes out to .596, a generous D-minus and still below average. What is worst about Coach Ferentz, he is the highest-paid public employee in the state of Iowa. He makes $4 million a year. Shouldn’t fans expect more from a coach receiving a multimillionaire-dollar salary?

Probably not, because Iowa football fans have a track record of incredibly low expectations and an inferiority complex in the Big Ten, which are the reasons Ferentz is still coaching. Maybe Iowa could try something new. But sadly, this won’t happen because Iowa decided to give Ferentz an extension on his contract.

The Iowan mindset is to hold on to what is nice, comfortable, and “tradition” — the ultimate Iowa belief is to fear progression instead welcoming change. This is perpetuated in the decision to extend Ferentz’s contract after one legendary season — which, by the way, was thanks to the players and supporting staff, not just Ferentz alone.

Ferentz receives a participation award as an extension because he is the hometown boy. Iowa fans need to be more demanding. If you look at teams such as LSU, where Les Miles was fired, you see a dedication to excellence. Miles helped LSU win a national championship in 2007. But just because he won one championship didn’t mean that LSU would support him forever. The players and fans swore by him; Miles was the third-longest tenured coach in LSU history. But just because he had a history of greatness was not enough for LSU to support Miles when his greatness ran out. When his way of coaching started to fail, LSU got rid of him.

That is a dedication to excellence. That is a mindset that helps you win games. That kind of mindset will be a part of the university at large. Football is a cut-throat sport. In order to achieve excellence, teams must win.

So, congratulations, Iowa fans, your inability to demand change will more than likely result in yet another mediocre season. Good luck.

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