NEW YORK CITY – Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is on the brink of a milestone when the Hawkeyes face Boston College in today’s Pinstripe Bowl.
The 19th-year coach will match the 143-win total Hayden Fry recorded over 20 years with Iowa’s next victory and the first chance to share in being the Hawkeyes’ winningest football coach comes today at the Pinstripe Bowl.
Ferentz downplays it all, but conceded Tuesday it would mean something to him to be share the honor with the coach who hired Ferentz to be an offensive line coach at Iowa in 1981.
“I’ve always felt very fortunate to be at a place like Iowa and that feeling is no different today than it was in 1981 when coach Fry gave me an opportunity,’’ Ferentz said, crediting players, assistants and staff members for the assistance they have given him over the years.
Things started modestly.
Ferentz won just one of his first 16 games as Iowa’s head coach after being selected to replace Fry in 1999, and Boston College coach Steve Addazio said Ferentz’s longevity and consistency are among the reasons he respects the Iowa coach.
“You don’t find people in the business who have anything bad to say about him and in this business, that’s unbelievable,’’ Addazio said.
Ferentz quickly tried to change the subject.
“You guys are making me feel old,’’ he said.
Bell cow: Iowa’s Josey Jewell, Josh Jackson and Sean Welsh joined three Boston College players in getting trading started at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
They sounded the opening bell on Wall Street early Tuesday morning, joining their coaches and Pinstripe Bowl officials on a balcony overlooking the trading floor to sound the bell that traditionally begins the day’s activities on Wall Street.
“Just like ringing a bell back on the farm,’’ said Jewell, raised on a farm near Decorah, Iowa where his family raises cattle and turkeys.
The Hawkeyes and Eagles heard about the history over the exchange, enjoying breakfast in elegant surroundings before heading to the trading floor with NYSE officials and adding Jewell's name to a registry of dignitaries who have had the honor.
Jewell, who graduated from Iowa on Dec. 16 with degrees in business and environmental studies, was impressed by the surroundings, telling Jackson and Welsh as they left the facility, “That was pretty cool.’’
Special difference: Ferentz and Addazio, participating in a news conference Tuesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, agreed that special teams might be the difference between two teams built to run the football and stop the run.
“Creating field position is a huge deal, especially when you want to run the football and play great defense,’’ Addazio said.
Ferentz said Iowa must to a good job of limiting opportunities for the Eagles’ Michael Walker, who leads the Atlantic Coast Conference with an average of 13.7 on punt returns and rates fifth in the league in kick returns at 24.3 yards on 31 returns.
“There are a lot of things on our checklist, but the first thing that comes to mind is their return guy,’’ Ferentz said.
Bright lights: The black-and-gold colors of Iowa and maroon and gold worn by Boston College athletes shined above New York City on Tuesday night.
The lights on the Empire State Building were decked out in the school colors of the two universities to honor the participants in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Missing end: Boston College will again be without one of its top defensive players in its game against Iowa.
Harold Landry, a third-team all-ACC selection at defensive end, will not play in the Pinstripe Bowl because of an ankle injury which has kept him out of the Eagles’ last four games.
“He just couldn’t get his ankle right,’’ Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “He won’t be with us against Iowa.’’
Landry led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 16.5 sacks last season.
Giving back: A group of 17 Iowa players, mostly underclassmen, led a group of 50 players age 14-and-under from the Bronx Colts Youth Foundation in a clinic on Tuesday morning at Yankee Stadium.
They ran the youths through a series of drills during the hour-long clinic that has been an annual event during the seven-year history of the Pinstripe Bowl, bringing together college players and participants who play in the league designed to provide activities for youths in the Bronx.
Future move: Jake Gervase and Amani Hooker will start at the safety positions for Iowa today, but it’s possible the two underclassmen could find themselves with a new role for Iowa in 2018.
Defensive coordinator Phil Parker has suggested Iowa could look at one or both could transition to outside linebacker where Ben Niemann now starts and is among three graduating seniors at the linebacker position.
It’s a move that current senior backup Kevin Ward made earlier in his career.
“It’s something we might be look at,’’ Parker said.