Ferentz worth a gold mine to athletics department

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz’s impact at Iowa resonates well beyond the football field.

Ferentz, 53, has agreed to a seven-year contract that keeps him at Iowa through 2015. He will not receive a pay increase with the deal, but his assistants will receive additional compensation for merit. Contract details are not yet finalized.

Ferentz, 70-53 in 10 seasons as Iowa’s coach, has led the Hawkeyes to five January bowls in eight seasons. Iowa has four years with at least nine wins under his direction and has not had a losing football regular season since 2000, Ferentz’s second season.

But Ferentz’s contributions perhaps are even more important to the athletics department’s financial structure. The football program generated more than $38.1 million in direct operating revenue during the 2008 fiscal year, according to records received by The Gazette via the Freedom of Information Act. More than $15.8 million was generated through ticket sales, and the University of Iowa Foundation received nearly $6.15 million in football contributions.

Over the last four years, Iowa’s football program has been a cash-generating machine for the athletics department. In fiscal years 2005 through 2008, the football program directly earned more than $55.3 million.

In 2008, the program’s expenses totaled more than $26.1 million, netting nearly a $11.9 million profit. That nearly equaled the total revenue generated by all other athletics programs combined. Iowa’s next most-profitable sport, men’s basketball, generated about $9.2 million for a $3.8 million profit after expenses.

Iowa’s athletics department generated more than $31 million last year in non-specific revenue through contributions, tournaments, royalties and other avenues, and the football program indirectly affects that total.

“Typically, we attribute about 70 percent of our revenue to football or is football related,” said Rick Klatt, Iowa’s associate athletics director for external affairs. Klatt said that includes licensing, sponsorships, signage or multimedia contracts not directly related to football.

Within a six-month span, Iowa’s athletics department received three pledged gifts for $5 million apiece, nearly all allocated for football facility improvements. In April, Iowa Falls businessman Dale Howard gave $5 million, most of which dedicated to a football facility. In early November, businessmen Dick Jacobsen of Des Moines and Bruce Rastetter of Alden each pledged $5 million for football facilities.

“I think my perspective on it clearly is that it’s football (that) helps drive the whole revenue with the university and the athletic department,” Rastetter said at that time. “For the athletic department to be successful, football has to be successful.”

Ferentz’s impact also resonates beyond finances. Athletics Director Gary Barta said Ferentz is one of the faces of the athletics department and that Ferentz’s 20 combined seasons at Iowa — including nine years as an assistant — shows his commitment to the state, the university and the program. Ferentz’s 11 seasons ranks second behind Hayden Fry’s 20 as the longest head football coach tenure in school history.

“I’ve enjoyed and appreciated the fact that Kirk is a person of great integrity,” Barta said. “He’s proven he’s a terrific football coach. I’ve watched that and admired that the three years I’ve been here.”

Barta said he and Ferentz began contract discussions after the 2008 season finale at Minnesota. They met again after Iowa’s Outback Bowl victory against South Carolina and mutually decided to wait until after last week’s national signing day to resume and finalize an extension.

“The process was such that right after football season Kirk and I sat down, and we were both excited about the future and the direction of the program,” Barta said. “Kirk expressed a direct desire to stay here.”

Speculation swirled that Ferentz might jump to the NFL and join former colleague Scott Pioli in either Cleveland or Kansas City. Ferentz, who speaks often with Pioli, chose to remain at Iowa rather than try for a job in the NFL.

“I consider it an honor to coach at the University of Iowa,” Ferentz said in a statement.

 Here are some other figures related to Iowa football for fiscal year 2008:


Ticket revenue: More than $15.8 million ticket revenue to the NCAA for fiscal year 2008

Contributions specific to football: Nearly $6.15 million

Guarantees: More than $1.5 million

Third-party contributions: $150,000

NCAA/Big Ten: More than $9.76 million

Radio/TV: $1 million

Programs/concessions: More than $648,000

Royalties/licensing: More than $2 million

Camps: Nearly $87,000

Endowment/Investment: Nearly $390,000

Other: $583,077

Operating revenue: More than $38.1 million



Scholarships: More than $2 million

Guarantees: $600,000

Coaching salaries: More than $3.1 million in salary/bonus/benefits; Assistants: More than $2.3 million

Other compensation (stipends, memberships to clubs, cars): More than $355,000

Recruiting: Nearly $367,000

Travel: $992,265

Equipment: $525,723

Game expenses: $1.4 million

Fundraising/marketing/promotion: More than $38,000

Sports camp: $173,000

Facilities/maintenance/debt service: almost $9 million

Spirit groups: $166,901

Medical expenses: $152,853

Memberships/dues: $3.65 million

Other expenses: $1.3 million

Operating expenses: $26. 1 million


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