Is he in or out? A look at Kirk Ferentz’s Hall of Fame resume

Kirk Ferentz has received numerous accolades in his 24 seasons as head football coach. But have his great efforts been enough to earn him a spot in Atlanta?


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz walks off the field after the 2022 TransPerfect Music City Bowl between Iowa and Kentucky at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats, 21-0. With the win, Ferentz tied former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno for most bowl victories as a Big Ten coach with 10.

Brad Schultz, Sports Reporter

In 24 seasons as Iowa’s head football coach, Kirk Ferentz has had a lengthy list of accomplishments.

These include two Big Ten titles in 2002 and 2004, Big Ten West division titles in 2015 and 2021, and the Hawkeyes’ first major bowl win since 1959 in the unexpectedly frigid 2010 Orange Bowl against Georgia Tech.

Ferentz won Big Ten Coach of The Year three times, and 25 players have received All-American honors under his watch. Many of his players have gone on to have great success in the NFL, including Micah Hyde, Brandon Scherff, George Kittle, TJ Hockenson, and many others.

Ferentz has a 198-136 career coaching record entering the 2023 season and is FBS’s longest-tenured head coach. His 186 victories at Iowa put him ahead of his mentor Hayden Fry, who coached from 1979-98, on the all-time wins list.

As Ferentz enters the twilight of his coaching career, there is one important question to think about.

If he retired today, would he be in consideration for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia?

What are the induction requirements?

Per the selection process, there are two benchmarks that a coach must meet to be inducted.

First, a coach must be retired for three full seasons and at least 70 years old. Second, inductees must have coached at least 10 seasons, while also coaching 100 games and earning a .600 career winning percentage.

Does Ferentz meet the criteria?

 As an active coach, Ferentz is currently ineligible simply because he hasn’t announced his retirement. An active coach must be at least 75 years old to be inducted into the Hall.

At 67 years old, Ferentz is still years away from reaching that guideline, but he has shown no apparent signs of slowing down.

After Iowa went 8-5 and fell short of the Big Ten Championship Game in 2022, the Hawkeyes had a productive offseason.

Ferentz utilized the transfer portal and picked up Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara, Michigan tight end Erick All, and Miami Ohio offensive lineman Rusty Feth, amongst many other newcomers with excellent track records. McNamara and All led the Wolverine’s 2021 Big Ten Champion squad that dismantled Iowa, 42-3, in Indianapolis.

As for the second part of the criteria, Ferentz has served as a head coach for 27 seasons and coached in 334 games. This includes three seasons at the University of Maine and the latter 24 years at Iowa.

Both marks put Ferentz well above the minimum seasons coached and games coached for the Hall criteria.

However, the one statistic that does not stack up well for Ferentz is the .600 all-time winning percentage.

Ferentz has compiled a .618 winning percentage at Iowa, but he only won 12 games in his three seasons as Maine’s head coach in the early 1990s for a .363 winning percentage.

Entering the 2023 season, Ferentz has a .592 career winning percentage, just short of the minimum mark. Successful seasons in 2023 and beyond would certainly push Ferentz over the .600 threshold.