[A BHGP Production Video]
As Ken O'Keefe fades into the sunlight of South Beach we at BHGP take an ever so slender moment to say goodbye and thanks to the offensive coordinator known affectionately, if not a bit sneeringly, as KOK. Ken was a football Rorschach test, and that was in the best of times. He, nevertheless, lasted over a decade in a job few thought he was ever worthy of having.
It's important to note that while Ken has basically vanished into the cold, thin air of Iowa City, Norm Parker, the assistant to whom most Iowa fans would generously lavish praise in the afterglow of a Hawkeye victory, often even at the expense of O'Keefe, is still likely on a contact high from his flattering farewell and closure from the Iowa football community for his many stellar years of service. Ken, meanwhile, leaves town without so much as an informal one-on-one Q&A session from one of the many longtime journalistic cheerleaders who cover the Hawkeyes. Indeed, the formal announcement of O'Keefe's resignation could not even warrant top billing from his own boss. Instead he was forced to ride shotgun to a slew of staffing announcements and ultimately was an undercard to the undercard of the announcement of Phil Parker as, you guessed it, Norm Parker's replacement. Proving the long shadow of the Iowa defensive coordinator job extends even now over it's offensive counterpart. Such was life at Iowa for Ken and ultimately he decided some South Beach sunshine was in order.
Many in Hawkville were a bit surprised that Ken's next move was not at the amateur ranks. He had looked hard a year ago at other college jobs but none were as big time as Iowa and, more importantly, none might have called back. But coaching is a world of trust and fidelity and so Ken was gobbled up by an old working mate as a wide receivers coach for the big boys. It would be foolish to expect Ken to be out of his depth based on his work at Iowa. We may have been shielded from the best of Ken O'Keefe during his decade plus run with the Hawkeyes. We'll likely never truly know where Kirk Ferentz ended and where Ken O'Keefe began when it came to the Iowa offense.
From day one it was fairly obvious that Kirk's hands were in the batter, because of his offensive line expertise and executive privilege. And for the vast majority of years that was most clearly a good thing. The stars of the offense have almost always been over 275 pounds. I wouldn't recommend holding your breath waiting for the KOK tell-all book though so as to get to the bottom of it. Any sort of record of the inner workings of Ken and Kirk's relationship died with Kirk's announcement of Ken's resignation. Company secrets are the lifeblood of the Ferentz corporation and you don't last as long as Ken did if you're a sink ships kind of guy. And now, either despite of or thanks to his working conditions Ken O'Keefe leaves behind years of resourcefulness for the historians to sift through. Most likely though, they won't bother. After all, they're destined to conclude, "it's just Ken O'Keefe." I hope we're wrong on that one, because Ken deserves a moment of attention from even the most hardened hater, things got done in his time and some of those things were more than some around here ever thought possible for the little program that could. But just in case KOK apathy is a greater force than good, here for the masses and Ken (if he's a BHGP lurker), is little virtual sunshine for the man they call KOK, and a little kiss goodbye.
Enjoy, and fare-thee-well Ken Old Buddy.