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Reports: Iowa hiring former Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester as next offensive coordinator

Ninety days later, Iowa’s offensive coordinator search has finally ended

Tim Lester will replace Brian Ferentz, who was fired last season after Iowa’s offense became one of the worst in the country. (Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Tim Lester will replace Brian Ferentz, who was fired last season after Iowa’s offense became one of the worst in the country. (Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Almost three months later, Iowa finally has a new offensive coordinator.

The Hawkeyes are hiring former Western Michigan coach Tim Lester as their next offensive coordinator, according to multiple reports Sunday. Lester will replace Brian Ferentz — the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz — after he was dismissed by the athletic director last fall.

Lester spent six seasons at Western Michigan, though he was fired after the 2022 campaign. He went 37-32 there and reached three bowl games. He spent last season as an offensive analyst with the Green Bay Packers.

Lester has just one stint as a play-caller at a Power Five school. He took over as Syracuse’s offensive coordinator in 2014 and the team went just 5-14 in 2015.

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Brian Ferentz was dismissed by Iowa athletic director Beth Goetz in October, though he finished the season and coached through the bowl game. He had been the team’s offensive coordinator since 2017, and the Hawkeyes have had one of the worst offenses in the country the past three seasons. They finished dead last in yards per game last season and better than only Kent State in points per game.

Ferentz’s struggles at offensive coordinator became a running joke in college football. He had his pay cut by $50,000 ahead of last season, and the school put it in his contract that he had to reach seven wins and average at least 25 points per game. Despite his struggles, Iowa went 10-4 last season and reached the Big Ten championship game for the second time in three years, though it averaged just 15.4 points per game.

Iowa also considered former Duke offensive coordinator Kevin Johns and former Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst for the job, but Chryst reportedly turned it down earlier this month.

Iowa will open its season Aug. 31 against Illinois State. The elder Ferentz, who is the longest-tenured coach in the country, will kick off his 26th season with the Hawkeyes.