“I never wanted anything more” – The Athletic

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Kirk Ferentz has driven the market into self-mockery, which is how he downplays his introduction to the state he’s called home for more than 30 of the past 40 years.

But the 66-year-old dean of college football coaching actually has a childhood memory that refutes his feigned ignorance of Iowa before arriving in Iowa City in 1981.

“I had (have) my only broken bone, I came here like when I was 5, because my great-uncle was in West Burlington,” Ferentz recalls in an interview with The Athletic. “So I was in Iowa, but at that time we were living in Michigan.”

Ferentz’s family ties in Iowa actually run much deeper. His great-great-grandfather, EB Kirkendall, was a farmer from southern Iowa. Ferentz’s great-grandfather, Dr EE Kirkendall, received a medical degree from the University of Iowa and was a practicing physician in Burlington. He then became chairman of West Burlington Savings Bank. On July 15, 1930, three bank clerks picked up EE Kirkendall from his West Burlington residence and proceeded to Burlington. The engine of their car stalled on a railroad track without the low beam headlights working. A commercial train then struck the vehicle and all four died as a result.

EE’s children, Horace (Kirkendall) and Mary Esther (Reed) lived in the Burlington area for several years before Mary Esther moved to Michigan with her husband. His daughter, Elsie May (Ferentz), is Kirk Ferentz’s mother. Horace Waldo Kirkendall – of whom Kirk Ferentz is named – was a longtime resident of the Burlington area and died in 1973.

“I passed by the house they lived in before I moved to the farm,” Ferentz said. “They lived in the city when my mother was alive. It was one of his best days. She got off (in Burlington); my sister pushed her down.


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