Brian Ferentz is “forever grateful” for Bret Bielema, who made a difference in his life in 2001

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 6:48 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - “I can call him ‘Bret’ now, but at the time he was Coach Bielema.”

In 2001, Bret Bielema was an assistant coach with the Hawkeyes, a young Brian Ferentz was starting his first fall camp, and it was not going well.

“I remember getting my ass kicked for two and half hours for the 8th week in a row,” Ferentz said. “I was playing on the scout team and being very discouraged at the point in my career, and wondering if I was good enough or if I had made a huge mistake coming to the University of Iowa.”

Bret Bielema, who was coaching the linebackers, noticed that Brian was struggling physically but also emotionally. That’s when Bret Bielema made a difference.

“I will never forget Bret putting his arm around me as we walked back inside and telling me to hang in there, that I was doing a good job, and I was going to be alright. At 18 years old, I needed to hear that,” Brian said.

“I will forever be grateful because I don’t know that my football career at the university of Iowa would have turned out the way it did if Bret hadn’t put his arm around me at that moment.”