NCAA Football

The mutual respect between Mike Gundy and Kirk Ferentz

The mutual respect between Mike Gundy and Kirk Ferentz

OSU coach Mike Gundy and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz live similar lives.

They wake up every morning in farm town mega houses about 15 minutes away from their stadiums. Their resumes command respect based on longevity alone –– they’re the longest tenured and winningest coaches at their respective schools. Both even experience the same issue: they’re surrounded by fans who either praise them as football deities or want them fired immediately. 

It’s only natural that the two have a friendship. 

This connection rekindled during an hour-long phone call they had in September.

“Coach Gundy and I were introduced by a mutual friend and mostly just discussed things we do within our specific programs,” Ferentz told the Franchise in a recent interview.

While Ferentz was short when discussing details of the conversation, Gundy revealed the reason they set it up: to discuss how similar the programs are this year.

“I wanted to make some comparisons,” Gundy said.  “It’s easy to talk to him because he’s already been through all the things I’ve been through.”

OSU is currently 6-0 and ranked eighth in the AP Poll while Iowa is 6-1 and ranked 11th. For weeks, Iowa was in the top five –– even climbing to its highest ranking since 1985 (No. 2) before losing to Purdue. For coaches who both average about eight wins per year (Ferentz averages 7.6 and Gundy averages 8.5), these are impressive starts to the 2021 season.

Their beginnings weren’t easy, though. They each faced multiple single-digit win seasons to start their careers at OSU and Iowa. Now in 2021, they’re regarded as some of the top coaches in the sport. This is why they have such respect for each other.

“He’s had a real challenge there and done really well and had a lot of success,” Gundy said.

“I have a lot of respect for the OSU program,” Ferentz said.

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