Monday, January 09, 2006

Al Schallau Has the Facts -- 'Kirk Ferentz Is NOT Going To Be Offered Any Head Coaching Job In NFL;' ISU Was Out Of Its League Against Texas

The way Al Schallau has it figured, Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz won't be leaving for an NFL job anytime soon.

"I looked on the teams' websites for the prior coaching careers of Bill Belichick, Jack Del Rio, Bill Cowher, Marty Schottenheimer, and Jeff Fisher," Schallau writes in an e-mail.

"Those five NFL head coaches have a grand total of ZERO days of college coaching experience. None of the five ever coached one day of college football, as an assistant coach or as a head coach.

"[New England's] Belichick began his NFL coaching career in 1975 at age 23 with the Baltimore Colts, and he has been coaching in the NFL ever since. [Pittsburgh's] Cowher began his NFL coaching career in 1985 at age 28 as special teams coach for the Cleveland Browns, and he has been coaching in the NFL ever since.

"Schottenheimer [of San Diego] began his NFL coaching career in 1975 with the New York Giants, and he has been coaching in the NFL ever since [except for a couple
years that the worked for ESPN between the Kansas City and Washington Redskins head
coaching jobs]. He has never coached one day of college football.

"Fisher [of the Tennessee Titans] began his NFL coaching career in 1986 at age 28, as an assistant for the Philadelphia Eagles. Del Rio [of Jacksonville] began his NFL coaching career in 1997 as an assistant for the New Orleans Saints.

"My conclusion is, the likelihood of any NFL general manager offering a head coaching job to a college coach is about is about as likely as major league baseball teams offering their manager's job to a college baseball coach.

"Kirk Ferentz is NOT going to be offered any head coaching job in the NFL."


After Schallau's first e-mail, he sent this one later today:


"You can add Tony Dungy [of Indianapolis] to the list. He also has ZERO days of experience as a college coach [none as a head coach; none as an assistant].

"Dungy began his NFL coaching career in 1981 at age 25, as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has been coaching in the NFL ever since. In 1981, he was the youngest assistant coach in the NFL."


Schallau is an attorney, a former Iowan and now lives in California. He is a fan of Southern California and Ferentz's Hawkeyes.

Ever since Iowa lost to Florida in the Outback Bowl, Hawkeye supporters have been going through their annual period of fear -- scared that Ferentz [pictured at the right] would forsake the millions he makes at Iowa in favor of a fat deal from an NFL team.

They recall how Nick Saban hurried off to coach the Miami Dolphins last year after he and his LSU team lost to Iowa in the Capital One Bowl. Before coaching at Michigan State and LSU, Saban -- like Ferentz -- had been an NFL assistant.

With Iowa's fans, it's a not a matter of "if" -- it's "how soon?" when it comes to a Ferentz exit.

Some people thought now would be an ideal time for him because his son, Brian, has completed his football eligibility at Iowa.

But all has been quiet on the job front. Ferentz has done nothing to silence the talk that he is considering leaving, but those in charge of hiring new NFL head coaches evidently haven't been scheduling any meetings with him.

Al Schallau may be right.


It's obvious that Iowa State's basketball team is out of its league when it has to play a team of strong shooters and a dominating inside presence.

The good news is that the No. 8-ranked Texas team that stormed into Hilton Coliseum and went home with a 78-58 victory is the best Iowa State will play until the NCAA tournament.

I can't imagine any other Big 12 Conference opponent being as overwhelming as the Longhorns.

Iowa State's biggest problem is that it no longer has Jared Homan in the middle. Sure, Jiri Hubalek stands 6-11 and Ross Marsden is 6-10, but Hubalek is only a sophomore and Marsden is a freshman.

Asking them to do what Homan did as a junior and senior is like asking boys to do a man's work.

Iowa State has talented guards in Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock, but guards will take you only so far in a conference like the Big 12.

There will be some rough nights ahead for the Cyclones, but none quite as difficult as the assignment against Texas.


ESPN, which televised the Iowa State-Texas game as its "Big Monday" feature, did a nice thing by paying tribute to former Cyclone coach Johnny Orr, who was at the school from 1981-1994.

Announcer Ron Franklin accurately credited Orr [pictured at the left] with building the "Hilton Magic" reputation in the Cyclones' explosive arena, and ESPN supported the theme by showing videotape of Orr marching onto the court to the "He-e-e-re's Johnny!" music.

Before Orr took the Iowa State job, Hilton Coliseum was just another arena with a lot of empty seats. Orr made it something special. He didn't advertise himself as God's gift to coaching, but he stressed offense and he began recruiting the kind of players Iowa State needed to be successful.

The fans identified with Orr and his program, and proved it by showing up in droves at Hilton. Attendance hasn't been the same since he left -- even in the successful years when Tim Floyd and Larry Eustachy were doing the coaching.

As for Hilton Magic, it's becoming a myth. Iowa State has already lost three games in its arena -- to Iona, 89-72; to Fresno State, 84-77, and to Texas, 78-58.


Speaking of fans, Franklin indicated to ESPN viewers that there wasn't room to shoehorn any more into the building for the Iowa State-Texas game.

He said even the upper decks were packed.

However, the attendance was announced as only 13,652 -- nearly 500 under capacity.

There's been only one full house at Hilton all season -- 14,092 for the victory over Iowa on Dec. 9.


It was worth it for ESPN to send sideline reporter Holly Rowe to Ames in addition to Franklin and commentator Fran Fraschilla.

Rowe asked Iowa State coach Wayne Morgan some intelligent questions at halftime -- not content with the usual, "What's your team going to have to do better in the second half?" -- and made some sensible observations throughout the game.