New belt, same coach

Aug. 3, 2010

Big Ten Football Media Day (Tuesday, Aug. 3)

CHICAGO — Kirk Ferentz is thrilled about the outlook for the 2010 football season, but before the University of Iowa head coach would take the podium at the 39th Annual Big Ten Conference Football Kickoff Luncheon here Tuesday, he needed a pit stop at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place gift shop.

“Coming from Iowa, I don’t get to the big city too often and in all the excitement Sunday and Monday I forgot to pack a belt,” said Ferentz, the reigning Big Ten football Coach of the Year. “I stopped down to the gift shop and they hooked me up with a belt — $22 and all three players with me agreed that it’s the most stylish thing that I’ve worn since they’ve been around me. So it’s great to be in Chicago.”

Whether it was the new belt or the fact the nationally ranked Hawkeyes are coming off an 11-2 season, both Ferentz and his posse of student-athletes — seniors Adrian Clayborn, Karl Klug and Ricky Stanzi — were some of the most sought-after interviews during the two-day Big Ten Media Days.

“We had an enjoyable season last year and we’re excited about the forecast ahead,” Ferentz said. “We have a great group of seniors coming back — we have a lot of work to do but we are thrilled about the outlook for the season. We’re thrilled to get started and the three seniors that are with us today are great representatives of the young people we have the pleasure of working with. We’re all excited about getting back to work and starting camp.”

At the 2009 preseason luncheon, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney spoke highly of legendary Hawkeye Nile Kinnick. On Tuesday, Ferentz referenced another grand name in the history of UI football: former head coach Forest Evashevski, who died Oct. 30, 2009.

“Forest Evashevski, a hall of fame coach, passed last fall,” Ferentz said. “It will be an honor to have his family back in Iowa City over Labor Day weekend to have a dedication ceremony. They’re going to change the street outside Kinnick Stadium from Stadium Drive to Evashevski — name it in his honor — so that’s going to be a great occurrence for us.”

Evashevski compiled a record of 52-27-4 from 1952-60, leading the Hawkeyes to Rose Bowl victories in 1957 and ’59.

Ferentz closed by complimenting the strength of the Big Ten and his hopes that the Hawkeyes will be pivotal players in the championship outcome.

“This is a tremendous conference and it’s been an exciting year for the Big Ten off the field with the expansion — I think that’s wonderful,” Ferentz said of the addition of the University of Nebraska in 2011. “I know this fall is going to be another exciting year of Big Ten football and we’re looking forward to being involved in it.”

The Hawkeyes will hold their annual media day Friday, Aug. 6. The season-opener is against Eastern Illinois at home Saturday, Sept. 4.