There are plenty of fathers who get upset with their sons for foul language, but it’s a little more newsworthy when that story also applies to the head coach of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes and his offensive coordinator. Brian Ferentz, son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, played for his father as an offensive lineman from 2001 through 2005, then joined the Hawkeyes’ coaching staff (after NFL playing stints with the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints from 2006-07 and a NFL coaching stint with the New England Patriots from 2008-11) in 2012 as an offensive line coach, and became their offensive coordinator in January.
During halftime of Saturday’s Minnesota-Iowa game, the younger Ferentz apparently angrily swore towards a press box replay official while walking to the coaches’ elevator. And his father is none too pleased, bringing it up on his own accord Tuesday. Mike Hlas of The Cedar Rapids Gazette has more details on the interaction and the fallout:
What follows is part of Tuesday’s news in Iowa football. It was raised without prompting by Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz at his weekly press conference, though he would have been prompted. As if getting ready to try to compete against Ohio State Saturday weren’t enough to fill his plate.
As halftime of last Saturday night’s Minnesota-Iowa game at Kinnick Stadium began, Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz shouted angry, obscenity-filled words as he and fellow Hawkeyes coaches went from their coaching booth to the press box elevator.
The comments seemed to be directed at a replay official in the press box, presumably for deciding late in the first half that said Iowa running back James Butler had the ball stripped from him before being ruled down.
Some of the words Ferentz chose were both multi-syllabic and ugly. The tone was full-blown rage. Dozens of people in the press box, from the media and several other walks of life, heard them. This wasn’t on the sideline or in a team-only area. This was a place in which the people in it are told before games to maintain decorum or they’ll be asked to leave.
It’s understandable if you wonder if media mopes like myself are making a mountain out of a molehill. But Kirk Ferentz said the following Tuesday:
“It was really an unprofessional act by Brian, and we have had discussions, as you might well imagine, several discussions about it. Our athletic director, Gary Barta, will visit with Brian later on today.
“The bottom line is what was done up there was inappropriate and it’s got to stop. It’s not acceptable and Brian is fully aware of that.”
…“It’s just something you can’t do. Takes away from your focus on your job, first and foremost, and secondly, it’s just not professional. You can’t do it.”
This isn’t the first time this was brought up. The Gazette‘s Jeremiah Davis has more in a piece from Saturday on exactly what happened, and on how Kirk Ferentz criticized those actions post-game as well:
Hawkeyes offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz was not happy with the call. As coaches left their coaches box when time expired, Ferentz let out a string of expletives heard by most in the press box — words too blue to reprint here.
Ferentz expressed his unhappiness with the play being reviewed.
When the halftime break was over, security officials were seen outside one of the boxes in the press box. As Ferentz walked by on his way back to his coaches box, he was seen and heard saying, “it’s (expletive) bull—-.
…Head coach Kirk Ferentz addressed the incident in the opening statement of his post-game news conference. He called the behavior “not acceptable.”
“I just learned a little while ago about some inappropriate behavior up in the press box by one of our coaches, and I don’t know all the details at this given point but of what I heard, it’s just not acceptable,” Kirk Ferentz said. “There’s a certain level of professionalism that you have to operate with, and we plan on doing that in the future. In the mean time, we’ll sit down and address this, find out the details are – I’m a little sketchy in terms of what all took place – but the bottom line is there’s no room for that. That will be addressed, and we’ll move on.”
As Hlas notes elsewhere in his column, swearing happens in all realms of life, and it’s often not that big of a deal. It does seem to be more of an issue when you’re doing so in this manner towards an official, though, and doing so in front of a whole lot of journalists who are there to observe. And there could be some punishment for the younger Ferentz from the Big Ten; Kirk Ferentz noted that Barta will be talking to conference leadership, and “whatever everybody feels is appropriate, that’s what we’ll abide by, certainly.” It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see the Big Ten hand down some punishment, especially as this was towards an official and in a very public forum. It’s not the biggest deal in the world, of course, but given the positions of both Kirk and Brian Ferentz, it does have a little more significance than your average “father mad at son over foul language” story.