Well, that escalated quickly.
Early this afternoon, CoachingSearch.com reported that Kirk Ferentz had interviewed Minnesota Vikings special teams assistant Chris White. About an hour later, the same source was reporting that the deal was done: White would be Iowa's new running backs coach and special teams coordinator. He inherits the job vacated by Lester Erb last
week month year. Erb, who was officially future endeavored when Iowa hired Kennedy and Reid last week, had been the running backs coach and special teams co-coordinator for the last five years.
Chris White has been the Vikings' assistant special teams coordinator for the last four seasons, and the Vikings' special teams have been relatively awesome over that four years: Kicker Blair Walsh went 35-for-38 last season as a rookie, Percy Harvin remains Percy Harvin, and Minnesota's net punting stats have been pretty good. Even if White wasn't directly responsible for Minnesota's special teams performance, his mere presence is an upgrade over Iowa's previous co-coordinators.
Prior to joining the Vikings, White spent nine seasons in a variety of spots at Syracuse, under both Paul Pasqualoni and Greg Robinson. Neither of those guys are thought of with particular fondness by Syracuse fans, but White showed versatility -- he coached tight ends and special teams at first, then receivers -- and some recruiting chops -- White landed three four-star prospects and nine prospects overall in his final season, despite the Orange being in the grip of a death spiral on the field -- as a receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. White's territory included New York, but focused heavily on the mid-Atlantic, especially once defensive line coach Jim Reid left after 2005 (DID YOU JUST HEAR A BELL RING NO THAT WAS YOUR MIND EXPLODING).
White also has that one thing that every Ferentz assistant seems to have: A background in Massachusetts small-college football. He began his career as quarterbacks coach at Holy Cross, played quarterback at Colby College in Maine, and was a 1986 graduate of Philips Exeter.
Iowa's special teams is in desperate need of some fresh thought, and White can presumably provide it. Iowa's recruiting needs another guy to solidify the ties it had in New York, New Jersey, and the mid-Atlantic, and White apparently has those. Iowa's running backs need someone to keep them in one piece, which may be more difficult than anything. But as a hire that kills at least two issues, the selection of White looks to be borderline inspired.
Kirk Ferentz holds a press conference tomorrow, presumably to announce the White hire and address other issues, such as where Reid will be coaching and what they plan to do with Eric Johnson. For tonight, at least it appears Iowa has taken a step in the right direction.