IOWA CITY, Iowa — Former University of Iowa football players LeVar Woods and Brian Ferentz have been named fulltime assistant coaches on the Hawkeye football staff. Woods has been named linebacker coach, while Ferentz will coach the offensive line. The staff announcements were made Saturday by head coach Kirk Ferentz.
“I am excited to have LeVar and Brian, two men with strong ties to our program and high school football within the state of Iowa, join our staff,” Kirk Ferentz said. “LeVar and Brian had great careers at the University of Iowa and both have enjoyed unique experiences and opportunities since their graduation. I am confident they will make positive and significant contributions in all areas of our program.”
Woods was a three-year letterman at Iowa and is a veteran of seven seasons in the National Football League. He has served as an administrative assistant with the Iowa program since September, 2008.
Woods assumed the role of Iowa’s defensive line coach for the 2011 Insight Bowl. Despite the loss to 14th-ranked Oklahoma, the Hawkeye defense held the Sooners to a season-low 275 yards of total offense and just 114 net rushing yards. Iowa linemen recorded four tackles for loss and two sacks in that game.
During his NFL career, Woods played for Tennessee, Arizona, Chicago and Detroit. He 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 ½ sacks, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Woods lettered as a member of the Hawkeye football team from 1998-2000. He was a two-year starter at outside linebacker, totaling 165 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss and four sacks. He was a team captain and co-Most Valuable Player as a senior in 2000, and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors after recording 97 tackles. He was selected for the Blue-Gray All-Star game following his senior season.
Brian Ferentz, the son of Kirk Ferentz, joins the Iowa staff after being a member of the NFL’s New England Patriots organization for the past four years. He served as 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. He spent 2009 as a coaching assistant after serving as a scouting assistant for the Patriots during the 2008 season.
Under his direction, Patriots rookie tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez made a big impact in 2011. Gronkowski finished first among all rookie tight ends with 10 touchdown catches, while Hernandez ranked second with six touchdown receptions. Gronkowski and Hernandez are the first pair of rookie tight ends with at least five touchdowns in the same season in NFL history.
Brian is a three-year Hawkeye letterman, playing both offensive guard and center. 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). 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.
Brian was selected for the 2006 Hula Bowl following his Hawkeye career. He signed a free-agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons, and was a member of their practice squad in 2006.
Woods and Brian Ferentz were recipients of the Hayden Fry “Extra Heartbeat Award” as seniors. The award goes to the Hawkeye player who gives extraordinary effort on the field.
Iowa has one remaining position open on its staff, with Kirk Ferentz yet to name a replacement for former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ken O’Keefe. O’Keefe recently resigned to accept a coaching position with the Miami Dolphins.