March 2017

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11 K irk Ferentz was mindful of his word selection Feb. 16 when he announced that Kelton Copeland and Tim Polasek would join his football coaching staff at the University of Iowa. "My mentor, Joe Moore, demonstrated the importance of hiring a good coach as opposed to filling a position or hiring for a position," Ferentz said Feb. 16 at a news conference in Carver- Hawkeye Arena. "at was the mindset we had going into this process." Copeland and Polasek, both former quarterbacks, rose to the top of what Ferentz termed a "rigorous process for the applicants." "I'm not sure I could have made it through, quite frankly, so I'm glad I wasn't one of the people being interviewed," Ferentz joked. Who are Copeland and Polasek? Both have paid their dues while climbing the coaching ranks, and ironically, the last time both were in Kinnick Stadium, they emerged from the visiting east sideline with a rare victory: Copeland in 2013 as running backs coach for Northern Illinois and Polasek last season as offensive coordinator for North Dakota State. e new wide receivers coach is Copeland, a native of Miami, who was a three-year starter at Emporia State (Kansas) University. He was a graduate assistant at his alma mater before making stops at Division II Northwood University in Michigan, Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, South Dakota, and Northern Illinois. While at Emporia State, Copeland was coached by Jerry Kill, who went on to face the Hawkeyes at Northern Illinois and Minnesota. Kill, who is now offensive coordinator at Rutgers, gave his former player advice: "He told me that coach Ferentz is a heck of a guy and if I get the opportunity, I better take it or he is going to kick my butt," Copeland said. Copeland doesn't anticipate a difficult transition to the Hawkeye staff because he sees similarity between his core values and those emphasized by Ferentz. "Winning on the field is important, but it's about developing young men," Copeland said. "Being honest, loyal, doing things the right way, treating people the right way. And when I came to my interview process and we started talking and we got to know each other a little bit, we found out pretty quick that our core values were similar and parallel. So to me, it was an easy fit." Polasek will coach the Hawkeye offensive line, a tough, hard-working, sometimes underappreciated group. You won't find many people tougher than the hard-working Polasek, a logger who once sold a golf club to get gas money so he could relocate to his job at North Dakota State. e all-time leading passer at Division III Concordia University in Wisconsin, Polasek has also made coaching stops at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Northern Illinois. "To coach in the Big Ten is one thing, it's a phenomenal conference, but to be at a place with the people that are at Iowa, always striving to do it the right way all the time is a heck of an honor," Polasek said. As a graduate assistant making $6,000 a year at North Dakota State, Polasek was known to work the typical 12-to-14-hour day and then crash on the office floor. "at's just the way it was," Polasek said. "You look at it now and hopefully it's part of a neat story that is only half written." Iowa begins spring practice at the end of the month. A practice in West Des Moines will be April 7 at Valley High School; the final spring game will be in Kinnick Stadium on April 21.

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