Dave McClain / Hayes–Schembechler Coach of the Year: Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Like there was any other choice here? Not only did Ferentz lead his team to a perfect 12-0 regular season, but did so amidst the annual barrage of hot seat talk at media days and beyond. Oh, and did we also mention no one saw this coming?
Iowa finished its first 12-win season in school history this year, and Ferentz’s decision-making in the offseason is what turned it all around. He made the then-controversial decision to go with junior quarterback C.J. Beathard following the bowl game and that led to then starting quarterback Jake Rudock to flee to Michigan for his final season in a college football uniform.
Beathard was exactly the right choice, even if many of us didn’t think so at the time. It was the choice that this season hinged on and the extra spark and better mobility that Beathard gave the Hawkeyes allowed this team to blossom in to the undefeated team it is. Finish the job against Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game and there will be national coach of the year honors coming his way too.