Ferentz, Hawks entertain in Fort Dodge

A Hawkeye legend once sat Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz down and schooled him on the importance of local I-Club events.

”(Former athletic director) Bump Elliott explained to me a long time ago just how big this is for our fans, and how much it should also mean to the coaching family here at Iowa,” Ferentz said. ”His advice always stuck with me.

”We have supporters who spend a lot of money and drive great distances to watch us play. It’s an honor for us to give something back and meet our Hawkeye family face-to-face.”

Ferentz was joined by athletic director Gary Barta and former Iowa basketball player Bobby Hansen, now a color commentator for the program who served as master of ceremonies for the first time. Hawkeye assistant basketball coaches Andrew Francis (men) and Lacey Goldwire (women) were also in attendance at the annual Webster County event here Tuesday, speaking to a crowd of approximately 450 people at the Best Western Starlite Village.

”It’s fantastic to see Hawks in this neck of the woods,” said Ferentz, who is in his 16th season at Iowa and the dean of Big Ten football coaches. ”When we visit places like Fort Dodge and other areas of the state that aren’t in the direct vicinity of Iowa City and Des Moines, we see just as much passion as the fans from our own backyard. That really energizes you as a coach – the tempo (at I-Club functions) is so upbeat and encouraging.”

Ferentz talked shop and discussed the potential of Boone Myers, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound left tackle from Webster City who has already cracked the two-deep as a redshirt freshman.

”Boone has a really bright future ahead if he keeps working the way he has since he (arrived on campus),” Ferentz said. ”He’s a very intelligent young man who has a lot of natural athletic ability.

”Our second team (on the offensive line) needs to develop as quickly as possible; that’s a key component for any program. Boone had a good spring and is right there in the mix (backing up All-America candidate Brandon Scherff).”

Barta appreciates the intimate atmosphere provided by the six-week tour around Iowa for a multitude of reasons.

”It’s just a great opportunity for the Hawkeye family,” Barta said. ”We have terrific coaches who are tremendous people, and I’m glad our supporters get to see that on a personal level. They really care about the community, so the feeling of excitement is mutual at these events.

”We have boosters who come from all corners of the state to show their support. This is the least we can do for them. It’s just a very exciting time to be a Hawkeye and proudly wear the black and gold, whether you’re a coach or a fan.”

The Webster County I-Club board of directors includes Jim Bice, Diane Blomker, Gwen Cornwell, Tim Holmstrom, Nick Moore, Tim O’Tool, Al Redenius, Judy Rozek, Nick Salmon, Cynde Turner, Dean Underberg, Dick Williams and Bill Woehl.