Offensive Coaching Staff
Brian Ferentz, a three-year letterman as an offensive lineman at the University of Iowa, was named offensive coordinator following the 2016 season. Ferentz served as Iowa's offensive line coach for five seasons (2012-16) and served as run game coordinator in 2015 and 2016.
Brian joined the Hawkeye staff after spending the previous four years with the NFL's New England Patriots. He was recently recognized by ESPN.com as one of the top assistant coaches in the Big Ten Conference under the age of 40.
Iowa has won a combined 20 games over the past two seasons, including an 8-5 record in 2016. The Hawkeyes earned a fourth straight bid to a January bowl game, participating in the 2017 Outback Bowl. Iowa closed the regular season with three straight wins, including home victories over two nationally ranked opponents.
The Iowa offensive line earned the 2017 Joe Moore Award, which is presented to the best offensive line in college football. Iowa boasted two players who rushed for over 1,000 yards in the same season for the first time in school history, as junior Akrum Wadley and senior LeShun Daniels, Jr., each surpassed 1,000 yards. Iowa was a finalist for the award in 2015.
The Hawkeyes posted a perfect 12-0 regular season record in 2015, winning the West Division of the Big Ten Conference. Iowa participated in the 2016 Rose Bowl Game and the 2015 Big Ten Championship and ended the season in the top 10 in the national rankings.
Along with the 2017 Outback Bowl, Iowa also participated in the 2014 Outback Bowl, the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl and the 2016 Rose Bowl. The Hawkeyes have ranked in the final top 10 of both major polls five times in the past 15 seasons.
Iowa has appeared in 10 January bowl games since 2001 and has recorded January bowl wins over Florida (2004 Outback), LSU (2005 Capital One), South Carolina (2009 Outback) and Georgia Tech (2010 Orange).
Iowa has won 124 games over the past 15 seasons, including 75 Big Ten games. Along with the 2015 division title, the Hawkeyes earned a share of the Big Ten title in both 2002 and 2004 and tied for second in 2009. Iowa has finished in the Big Ten's first division in 14 of the past 16 years.
Iowa's offense in 2015 averaged 30.9 points and 386.1 yards total offense, including 181.7 rushing and 204.4 passing yards per game. Iowa ranked in the top 25 nationally in fourth down conversions, fewest penalties and fewest turnovers.
Four members of Iowa's 2016 offensive line earned All-Big Ten recognition, including Ike Boettger, Cole Croston, James Daniels, and Sean Welsh. All except Croston return in 2017. In 2015, guard Jordan Walsh earned first team all-Big Ten honors, while center Austin Blythe was one of three finalists for the Rimington Award and a second team selection.
Left tackle Brandon Scherff won the 2014 Outland Trophy, was the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Big Ten and earned unanimous consensus All-America honors. Scherff was the fifth player selected in the 2015 NFL Draft (Washington Redskins), while right tackle Andrew Donnal was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the fourth round.
Iowa's offensive line in 2013 led the way for an offense that averaged 377 yards total offense, including 180 rushing yards and 197 passing yards. The Hawkeye offensive line allowed just 15 sacks in 13 games, a total that led the Big Ten and tied for 12th best in the nation. Iowa won eight games while participating in the 2014 Outback Bowl.
Iowa's offensive line featured the same five starters in all 13 games in 2013, with four of those Hawkeyes earning Big Ten honors. Scherff was a first team selection, while right tackle Brett Van Sloten was second team and Blythe and left guard Conor Boffeli each were named honorable mention. Iowa led the Big Ten and ranked eighth in the nation in fewest penalties per game. Boffeli and Van Sloten signed NFL free agent contracts immediately following the 2014 NFL Draft.
Senior center James Ferentz and senior tackle/guard Matt Tobin led Iowa's offensive line in 2012, as both players earned all-Big Ten recognition. In addition, Blythe earned FWAA Freshman All-America honors. Iowa's offensive line put together a string of four consecutive games without allowing a quarterback sack and allowed less than two sacks in six of 12 games overall.
Brian, the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, served as New England's tight ends coach in 2011, helping the Patriots win the AFC championship and a spot in the 2012 Super Bowl. Brian was an offensive assistant coach in 2010, working exclusively with the tight ends. He spent 2009 as a coaching assistant after serving as a scouting assistant for the Patriots during the 2008 season.
Under his direction, two Patriot rookie tight ends made a big impact in 2010. The New England duo ranked first and second, among all rookie tight ends with 10 and six touchdown catches, respectively. They became the first pair of rookie tight ends with at least five touchdowns in the same season in NFL history. Rob Gronkowski's 10 touchdown receptions rank second in NFL history for a rookie tight end, as only Mike Ditka (12) had more touchdowns as a rookie.
Gronkowski set additional records in 2011, including individual records for receiving touchdowns by a tight end (17), total touchdowns by a tight end (18) and receiving yards by a tight end (1,327). As a tandem, the Patriot tight ends also set three NFL single season records: total touchdowns by a tight end tandem (24), receptions by a tight end tandem (169) and total yards by a tight end tandem (2,237).
Brian played both offensive guard and center during his Iowa career. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 2005, and was academic All-Big Ten in 2003. He was a team captain as a senior and played on Iowa teams that were among the most successful in school history. Brian was part of two Big Ten championship teams (2002 and 2004).
Ferentz started at center in every game as a senior in 2005. He started eight games at right guard in 2004 as the Hawkeyes earned a share of the Big Ten title and a bid to the Capital One Bowl. Iowa won each of the eight games he started after he missed the first four games of the year due to injury. Ferentz earned the starting center position as a sophomore and started five games before missing the second half of the season due to injury.
During his tenure as a player, Iowa participated in the BCS FedEx Orange Bowl, two Outback Bowls, and a Capital One Bowl, compiling an overall record of 38-12. The Hawkeyes defeated Florida in the 2004 Outback Bowl and defending national champion LSU in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.
Ferentz was a member of Iowa's Leadership Council and as a senior was the recipient of the Hayden Fry "Extra Heartbeat Award". The annual award goes to the Hawkeye player who gives extraordinary effort on the field. He was recognized with the "Next Man In" award as a junior.
Brian was selected to participate in the 2006 Hula Bowl following his Hawkeye career. He signed a free agent contract with Atlanta and was a member of the Falcons practice squad in 2006. He was with the New Orleans Saints throughout their 2007 training camp.
He earned his bachelor's degree in history from Iowa in 2006.
Ferentz was born March 28, 1983, in Iowa City. He and his wife, Nikki, have a daughter, Presley, and a son, John.
Ken O'Keefe, who served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Iowa from 1999-2011, has been named quarterbacks coach for the Hawkeye football program.
Iowa was bowl eligible in the final 11 seasons O'Keefe was on staff, ranking in the top 10 in the final national rankings on four occasions. The Hawkeyes won Big Ten titles in 2002 and 2004 and placed second in 2009. Twenty Hawkeye offensive players under O'Keefe were selected in the NFL Draft. Four of the top seasons in Iowa history, for average passing yards per game, occurred under O'Keefe's direction.
O'Keefe has tutored some of the top performing quarterbacks in Iowa history, including Kyle McCann, Brad Banks, Nathan Chandler, Drew Tate, Ricky Stanzi, and James Vandenberg. That group owns five of the top 10 single-season passing performances in school history. Tate (second), Stanzi (third), Vandenberg (seventh), McCann (ninth) and Banks (12th) rank among Iowa's career passing leaders.
As a senior in 2001, McCann led the Hawkeyes to their first bowl game under Ferentz, a win over Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl. McCann ranked second in the Big Ten in pass efficiency in 2001 while passing for over 2,000 yards in his only season as a starter.
The following season, senior Brad Banks led the Hawkeyes to a share of the Big Ten title. Banks placed second in Heisman Trophy balloting, while winning the Davey O'Brien Award as the top quarterback in the nation. He was the Associated Press Player of the Year and was named Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten Conference after leading the nation in pass efficiency.
Nathan Chandler took over for Banks in 2003 and promptly guided the Hawkeyes to a 10-3 overall record, including a win over Florida in the 2004 Outback Bowl. Chandler passed for over 2,000 yards in his only season as a starter.
Drew Tate burst on the scene as a sophomore in 2004, leading Iowa to a share of the Big Ten title. He earned first team All-Big Ten honors while passing for over 2,700 yards and 20 touchdowns. Tate ranks second in career passing, touchdown passes, completions, attempts and total offense. He also completed a 56-yard scoring strike on the last play of the game to lead Iowa to a win over LSU in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.
Stanzi set Iowa's school record for passing efficiency (157.6) in 2010, passing for over 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns, with just six interceptions. He passed for over 2,400 yards in his first full season as a starter in 2009, leading Iowa to a second place finish in the Big Ten and to an Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech.
In O'Keefe's final season at Iowa, he worked with Vandenberg, who was in his first year as a starter. Vandenberg passed for 3,083 yards and 28 touchdowns, with both totals ranking third-best for a single season in school history.
O'Keefe has been a member of the Miami Dolphins staff for the past five seasons, most recently serving as senior football research analyst. He was named Miami's wide receivers coach in February, 2012, and served in that role prior to being named senior offensive assistant in 2015.
Under O'Keefe, wide receiver Jarvis Landry set the Miami's rookie record with 84 receptions in 2014, the fourth-most by any player in a single season in team history. Landry surpassed that mark with 110 receptions in 2015 and caught more passes (194) than any other player in league history during the first two seasons of their career.
Wide receiver Brian Hartline had the two best seasons of his seven-year career under O'Keefe. Hartline totaled 74 receptions for 1,083 yards in 2012, and added 76 receptions for 1,016 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in 2013.
O'Keefe was the head coach at Fordham University in 1998. He served as head coach at Allegheny College for eight seasons (1990-97). His career head coaching record of 83-17-1 included a 79-10-1 mark at Allegheny, where his team won five North Coast Athletic Conference titles and the 1990 NCAA Division III national title. O'Keefe led Allegheny to four undefeated regular seasons (1990, 1991, 1994 and 1996), and six NCAA playoff appearances. He was named NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 1990.
In 1985, O'Keefe coached Fort Worth (Texas) Country Day School. From 1978-84, he led Worcester (Mass.) Academy to a 37-11 record and three New England Class A prep championships. O'Keefe started his coaching career as an assistant coach at the University of New Haven from 1976-77.
Tight Ends Coach
LeVar Woods, a three-year football letterman at the University of Iowa and a veteran of seven seasons in the National Football League, is in his first season coaching the Iowa tight ends. He will continue to assist with the Hawkeye special teams. Woods coached Iowa linebackers the past three seasons and previously served as an administrative assistant with the Iowa program (2008-11).
Woods coached Iowa linebackers a year ago, as the Iowa defense ranked seventh in the nation in pass defense and 22nd in total defense. Iowa posted seven victories while earning a spot in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl. Iowa led the Big Ten and ranked second in the nation in fewest penalties and penalty yards. In his first year as a starter, senior Quinton Alston ranked second on the team in tackles and earned second team all-Big Ten honors.
In 2013, Woods joined with Jim Reid in coaching three senior linebackers who served as the leaders of Iowa's defense. Anthony Hitchens, Christian Kirksey, and James Morris each recorded over 100 tackles while earning all-Big Ten recognition. The trio each recorded over 250 career tackles and combined for 950 total tackles in helping Iowa appear in three bowl games.
Kirksey was selected in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft by Cleveland, while Hitchens was selected by Dallas in the fourth round. Hitchens started 11 games for the Cowboys, while Kirksey started eight games in his first season. Morris signed an NFL free agent contract (New England) immediately following the draft and was with the Super Bowl champions throughout the season.
Due to the play of the Iowa defense, Reid and Woods were named by FootballScoop as national Linebackers Coaches of the Year. Iowa earned a spot in the 2014 Outback Bowl behind a solid defense that ranked among the national leaders in total defense (sixth), first downs allowed (seventh) pass defense (ninth), scoring defense (ninth), pass efficiency defense (17th) and rushing defense (19th). The Hawkeyes recorded eight wins, including five in the Big Ten to tie for second in the Legends Division.
Under the direction of Woods, Iowa's linebackers also held the top three spots on the tackle chart in 2012. Hitchens not only led Iowa in tackles, but also led the Big Ten and ranked sixth in the nation. Morris ranked third in the Big Ten and 13th in the nation. Kirksey was third on the team in tackles, while ranking second in the nation with four recovered fumbles. He was also one of eight players in the nation with two touchdowns on interception returns.
Woods served as Iowa's defensive line coach in the 2011 Insight Bowl. Despite the loss to 14th-ranked Oklahoma, the Hawkeye defense held the Sooners to a season-low 275 yards total offense and just 114 net rushing yards. Iowa linemen recorded four tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception.
Iowa has participated in 12 bowl games since 2001. The Hawkeyes won bowl games following the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons, defeating ranked opponents in both 2009 and 2010. The Hawkeyes have ranked in the final top 10 of both major polls four times in the past 13 seasons.
Iowa has appeared in eight January bowl games since 2001. The Hawkeyes have won six bowl games under Kirk Ferentz and his staff, including four January bowl victories. The January Bowl wins have come over Florida (2004 Outback), LSU (2005 Capital One), South Carolina (2009 Outback) and Georgia Tech (2010 Orange).
Iowa has won 104 games over the past 13 seasons, including 61 Big Ten games. The Hawkeyes earned a share of the Big Ten title in both 2002 and 2004 and tied for second in 2009. Iowa has finished in the Big Ten's first division in 12 of the past 14 years.
As an administrative assistant, Woods assisted the coaching staff in compiling statistical information, gathering information on opponents and recruits and assisting in the day to day operation of the football office.
During his NFL playing career, Woods played for Arizona, Chicago, Detroit and Tennessee. Woods signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in 2001 and spent the first four years of his career in Arizona.
In 88 career games Woods totaled 168 tackles, 2.5 QB sacks, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Woods teams with fellow NFL player Kyle Vanden Bosch (both are graduates of West Lyon HS in Inwood, Iowa) in hosting a youth football camp in their hometown. He has also founded the LeVar Woods Football Academy in Okoboji, Iowa, teaching fundamentals and techniques to youth and high school athletes.
During his stint with the Cardinals, Woods was named a finalist for both the Byron "Whizzer" White and Walter Payton Man of the Year awards, recognizing his contributions to charity.
Woods has been involved with several charitable organizations throughout his career, including the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids foundation, Homeward Bound, Soup Kitchen, Youth Christmas shopping trips and, Milk and Cookies Youth Reading Program, along with speaking engagements to elementary school children. Woods has also been instrumental in developing the Hawkeye Readers youth reading program in conjunction with the Iowa City: UNESCO City of Literature, which helps promote the importance of literacy to children.
He has also been involved with the NFL's Executive and Entrepreneurship programs through the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, the Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University and the Stanford School of Business.
Woods lettered as a member of the Hawkeye football team from 1998-2000. He was a two-year starter at outside linebacker, totaling 165 career tackles, including 18 tackles for loss and four sacks.
He was a team captain as a senior in 2000 and earned honorable mention all-Big Ten honors from both league coaches and media after recording 97 tackles. He was selected for the Blue-Gray All-Star game following his senior season.
Along with serving as defensive team captain, Woods was co-Most Valuable Player and the recipient of the Hayden Fry "Extra Heartbeat Award", given each year to the Hawkeye player who gives extraordinary effort on the field.
Woods attended West Lyon HS in Inwood, Iowa, where he earned all-state honors and was the Class 2A Player of the Year as a senior. He rushed for 1,226 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior, while totaling 50 tackles, nine QB sacks and two recovered fumbles as a defensive end.
He earned his degree in elementary education from the University of Iowa in December, 2000.
Woods was born March 15, 1978, in Cleveland, Ohio. LeVar and his wife, Meghann, have three children, daughters Sydney and Whitney, and a son, Mason.
WOODS' COACHING CAREER
Iowa TE, 2015-Present
Iowa LB, 2012-14
Iowa AA, 2008-11
WOODS ON IOWA
"Joining the coaching staff at the University of Iowa is a great opportunity for me and my family. To be back in a city we love in Iowa City, back in the state of Iowa and at a University where I was able to play football and earn my degree, is a great feeling. The opportunity to play football under Coach Ferentz, and be a member of the coaching staff, is unbelievable. As a player, I admired Coach Ferentz and the way he developed players; not only as athletes, but developing them from young men into adults.
At Iowa I have the opportunity to work and coach with a great group of guys and a great coaching staff. It means everything to me. I came here as a boy, grew up here and became a man. I met my wife here, we have two beautiful children; I am a Hawkeye through and through. It is a privilege to be able to work with a staff that helped me grow and mature into the man I am today.
The city of Iowa City and the state of Iowa are unique. Until you visit and become a part of Iowa City, you have no idea. When you see Iowa City on a game weekend, there is nothing like it; our fans are the best in the country. You can't find this type of support just anywhere. Iowans and Hawkeye fans are loyal and proud, and it's an honor to represent them as a member of the Hawkeye coaching staff."
Wide Receivers Coach
Copeland served as wide receivers coach and specials teams coordinator at Northern Illinois in 2016 after coaching running backs from 2013-15. The Huskies had a first team all-conference selections at both wide receiver (Kenny Golladay) and as return specialist (Aregeros Turner), while leading the conference in both kickoff returns and kickoff coverage.
In 2015, Northern Illinois running back Joel Bouagnon earned first team all-conference honors after rushing for 1,285 yards and 18 touchdowns. The Huskies averaged 190.1 rushing yards per game while playing in the conference title game for the sixth straight year and earning an eighth straight bowl invitation.
The Northern Illinois offense rushed for 3,488 yards and 36 touchdowns in 2014, as three running backs each averaged over five yards per carry. In 2013, the Huskies featured two players who each rushed for over 1,000 yards, including quarterback Jordan Lynch, a Heisman Trophy finalist.
Copeland joined the Northern Illinois staff after coaching wide receivers at South Dakota for two seasons (2011-12). He was on the staff at Coffeyville Community College from 2007-10, coaching wide receivers (2008-10) and the defensive secondary (2007). Coffeyville advanced to the Region IV playoffs in three different seasons.
Copeland coached defensive backs at Northwood University in 2006, helping Northwood reach the Division II playoffs. He was on the coaching staff at Emporia State University from 2003-05, coaching linebackers, running backs, and wide receivers, while also working with special teams.
As a player at Emporia State from 1999-02, Copeland served as team captain for three seasons. While playing the quarterback position he set school records for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season and career, leading the team in total offense as both a junior and senior.
Copeland graduated from Emporia State University in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in recreation. He is a native of Miami.
Offensive Line Coach
Polasek joins the Iowa staff after serving as offensive coordinator and running backs coach at North Dakota State (NDSU) for the past three seasons.
Polasek rejoined the NDSU staff as offensive coordinator and running backs coach in January, 2014, after coaching at Northern Illinois in 2013.
NDSU posted a 12-2 mark in 2016, falling in the FCS semifinals to eventual national champion James Madison. The Bison averaged 240.9 rushing yards and 407.9 yards total offense per game. Running backs Lance Dunn and King Frazier combined to rush for 1,875 yards.
In 2015, Polasek directed a Bison offense that ranked second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 432.3 total yards per game. NDSU won its fourth straight FCS national championship with a 15-1 record and won the conference with a 7-1 mark.
NDSU's offense flourished with first-year starting quarterback Carson Wentz rushing for more yards than any Bison quarterback since the veer-option days of the mid-1990s, and All-America running back John Crockett adding nearly 400 receiving yards to his school-record 1,994 rushing yards.
NDSU's hard-nosed rushing attack helped the Bison rank second nationally in time of possession (34:03), third in first downs (343), and fifth in third-down conversion percentage (.483). The Bison averaged 5.2 yards per carry and rushed for 235.2 yards per game.
Polasek coached tight ends and fullbacks at Northern Illinois in 2013. The Huskies posted a 12-2 record, advancing to the Mid-American Conference championship game and earning a bid to the Poinsettia Bowl.
During his previous coaching stint at NDSU, Polasek coached running backs (2006-12), and tight ends and fullbacks (2010-12). Polasek worked with several special teams units as well before spending one season at Northern Illinois.
Polasek was an assistant coach at Wisconsin-Stevens Point for three seasons before initially joining the staff at NDSU. He coached defensive backs (2005), wide receivers/tight ends (2003-04) and quarterbacks (spring 2003). He was the special teams coordinator in 2004-05 and passing game coordinator in 2003-04.
Polasek is the all-time leading passer at Concordia University (Wisconsin), where he set single-game, single-season and career records for touchdown passes, passing yards, completions, and completion percentage. He was the Badger-Illini Conference Player of the Year in 2000. Polasek was a two-time first team all-conference selection in (2000-01) after earning second team honors in 1999. He was a team captain for two seasons and is a member of the Concordia Hall of Fame.
Polasek graduated from Concordia University in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in physical education. He earned his master's degree from Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2005.
Former Northern Illinois standout Joe Pawlak is in his first year as a graduate assistant coach with the Iowa football program. He assists with the Hawkeye offense.
Pawlak has served as a graduate assistant on the Northern Illinois coaching staff the past two seasons, working with the offense. The Huskies posted an 8-6 record in 2015 and an 11-3 record in 2014. Northern Illinois has played in the Mid-American Conference championship game the last six seasons. NIU earned a spot in the 2014 Boca Raton Bowl and the 2015 Poinsettia Bowl.
Following his playing career, Pawlak spent in the NIU Strength and Conditioning Center, working with several different Northern Illinois sports teams.
A three-year starter at NIU, Pawlak started the final 41 games of his career and played in 52 total games. As a member of the 2011 Mid-American Conference championship team, he was part of an offensive line that allowed just 12 sacks to rank 10th in the nation for fewest sacks allowed.
In 2011, Pawlak and the NIU offense broke 12 single-season records, including passing yards (3,386), touchdowns (67), net yards gained (6,664) and yards per game (476). Northern Illinois posted identical 11-3 records in 2010 and 2011, winning the 2010 Humanitarian Bowl and the 2011 GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Pawlak earned all-conference honors in 2010 and earned academic all-conference recognition in 2011.
Pawlak earned his bachelor's degree in sociology in 2011 and a master's degree in sports management in 2013, both from Northern Illinois. Pawlak is pursuing a master's degree in leisure and recreational sports management at Iowa.
Pawlak was born Nov. 28, 1988. He is single.
Former Hawkeye wide receiver Don Shumpert is in his first year as a graduate assistant coach with the Iowa football program. He assists with the Hawkeye offense.
Shumpert is a native of St. Louis, where he attended Hazelwood East High School. Shumpert served as an assistant coach at Hazelwood East in 2015. At Hazelwood he coached the wide receivers and assisted with special teams. Hazelwood East posted a 6-4 record, advancing to the first round of the state playoffs. Shumpert coached all-state receiver Rajai Perkins, who accepted a full ride scholarship to Murray State University.
Shumpert was a three-year letterman as a wide receiver for the Hawkeyes, completing his career in 2013. His career totals include 21 receptions for 211 yards. He also contributed on special teams, collecting 11 career tackles. Shumpert's best year came in his final season as he recorded 15 receptions for 182 yards while helping the Hawkeyes post an 8-5 record while earning an invitation to the 2014 Outback Bowl.
Shumpert was recognized with the Next Man In Award for offense as a senior. He earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in both 2012 and 2013. The Hawkeyes won 27 games during his four-year career and played in four consecutive bowl games.
As a prep senior, Shumpert earned first team all-state honors. He was a two-year letterman while playing both wide receiver and defensive back. Shumpert served as a senior captain and was named team MVP in his final season. Hazelwood East won the state title in his junior season and earned a return trip to the playoffs the following season. Shumpert earned all-state honors as a track athlete and was a two-year basketball letterman.
Shumpert earned his bachelor's degree in sports management from the University of Iowa in 2014 and is pursuing a master's degree in sports management.
Shumpert was born Jan. 8, 1992. He is single.