The prestigious award follows the legacy of Eddie Robinson, who earned 408 victories over 55 years (1941-42, 1945-97), making the Grambling State University head coach the second-winningest coach in NCAA Division I history.
“I want to congratulate you, coach Ferentz, and the Iowa Hawkeyes football program for your outstanding season. Coach Ferentz, I also want to applaud you, and your program, for having the players continue to excel in the classroom,” Robinson III said, grandson to Robinson the first.
Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz received the award from Robinson III Friday night at an evening reception in Paradise Valley. Ferentz recorded the University’s first 12-0 season – two losses coming later in the season – and moved his No. 6 team to their first Rose Bowl since 1990.
“Iowa football was a great feel-good story this year,” FWAA President Lee Barfknecht said at the reception. “Kirk’s team was one of those teams that had been on the edge but they had a senior class that got tired of losing and did incredible things. The whole story was that the whole was greater than some of the parts. Those are the stories that touch us the most.”
Ferentz was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in December after Iowa’s undefeated season play of 12-0 at the time. Despite a loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship and a concession to the Stanford Cardinal at the Rose Bowl, the Hawkeyes finished the 2015 season on a strong note, citing a team effort as the driving force.
“What an honor this is, not only for myself, but in any coach of the year or any MVP awards in football are strictly team awards. I certainly view it that way, I’m extremely appreciative to everyone involved in the Football Writers Association for this honor and certainly the sponsorship of the Allstate Sugar Bowl […] just very, very appreciative. It’s a great honor for me to coach at the University of Iowa.”