Iowa football program hires Abdul Hodge as tight ends coach, moves Brian Ferentz to quarterbacks role

Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz will absorb quarterbacks coach responsibilities after Ken O’Keefe stepped down from the role.


© Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 1, 2005; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defender (52) Abdul Hodge, (15) Miguel Merrick and Edmond Miles bring down Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Tim Brasic in the third quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Photo By Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) 2005 Byron Hetzler

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

The Iowa football program has hired former Hawkeye and three-time All-Big Ten linebacker Abdul Hodge as its tight ends coach, head coach Kirk Ferentz announced on Wednesday.

In a corresponding move, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz will replace Ken O’Keefe as Iowa’s quarterbacks coach. O’Keefe, who spent 18 seasons on Iowa’s coaching staff during two separate stints, stepped down from his role in February.

Brian Ferentz previously acted as Iowa’s offensive coordinator and tight ends coach. Rather than bring in an outside hire to take over coaching its signal callers, Iowa shifted Brian Ferentz out of his tight ends coach role and acquired Hodge. The former linebacker from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, played at Iowa from 2002-05 under Kirk Ferentz, who is entering his 24th year leading the Hawkeyes. The former team captain has spent the last three years as outside linebackers coach and NFL liaison at South Dakota.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Abdul,” Kirk Ferentz said in a release. “We first got to know him when recruiting him in 1999 and 2000. He was a terrific player for us, but more than his accomplishments on the field, he was an outstanding leader for our football team. Abdul exemplifies all that is good in college football. The competitive drive he used to become an All-Big Ten player continues to fuel him to this day. I am confident he will do an outstanding job in this position.”

Iowa posted a four-year record of 38-12 during Hodge’s time with the program, winning a share of the Big Ten title in 2002 and 2004. Hodge ranks third in career tackles at Iowa (453) and is one of three Hawkeyes to lead the team in tackles three consecutive years (2003-05). 

Hodge was a quarterfinalist for the 2005 Lott Trophy and earned All-America accolades as a junior and senior. He was selected in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. Hodge played for the Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Carolina Panthers during his NFL career, which concluded with the 2010 season.

“When I decided to get into coaching after my NFL career, the first person I called was Coach Ferentz,” Hodge said in a release. “Coach Ferentz has always been a great leader, and I am excited to be able to continue my coaching career where I had so many great memories as a player and student.”

Hodge and Brian Ferentz played together in college and now will be part of the same offensive coaching staff.

The Hawkeyes are coming off a 10-4 season that saw them reach as high as No. 2 in the Associated Press poll and win the Big Ten West. However, Iowa’s offense ranked 121st out of 130 FBS teams. Iowa ranked 99th in the nation in points per game (23.4). Brian Ferentz is now entering his sixth season as Iowa’s offensive coordinator and will now have the added responsibility of working in a quarterbacks room headlined by Spencer Petras, Alex Padilla, and Joey Labas.

“We believe this is the logical move for our football program,” Kirk Ferentz said in a release. “The person in charge of calling the plays should work most closely with the players who are in control of the offense.”