JACKSONVILLE, FL (AP) -- Kirk Ferentz surprised Hawkeye fans at a press conference for the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl by revealing that beneath his placid demeanor and easygoing countenance lurked the angry young heart of a metalhead.
"Yeah, you know I don't always talk about it, but I'm a huge metal fan. Can't get enough of it," Ferentz told the media. "Especially Slayer. They friggin' defined thrash metal, you know? Reign in Blood was my jam. I've tried for years to get us to use 'Angel of Death' as our walk-out music at Kinnick, but Gary [Barta, athletic director at Iowa] keeps nixing it. Says it's not family-appropriate or something."
Ferentz indicated that his obsession with Slayer had deep roots -- in fact, it went back to his first tenure with the Hawkeyes, as a young offensive line coach.
"Oh yeah, I was obsessed with them back then. Completely and totally obsessed. In fact, funny story about... Hayden almost fired me back in '86 because of Slayer. It was mid-November and we had a game that Saturday against Purdue in Iowa City. But Slayer was on their 'Reign in Pain' tour promoting Reign in Blood and, like I said, I friggin' loved that album. "Raining Blood" is basically my personal manifesto, you know?
"So Dan and I -- oh yeah, Dan McCarney was a big metalhead, too. He was more into Megadeth, but he dug Slayer, too. Anyway, Dan and I saw that Slayer was playing Chicago on the Friday before the Purdue game and we knew we'd be kicking ourselves for years if we didn't go to that show. I mean, sure, we had a game the next day -- but it was just [expletive] Purdue, you know?
"So we get through the final game prep on Friday and we told Hayden some yarn about needing to go recruit a kid the Quad Cities and light out of town. We missed the opening act, but we got there just a few minutes before Slayer's set started. It was frigging epic, you know? When "Angel of Death" hit, I just about lost my [expletive]. Just a complete mind [expletive] of an experience.
"Anyway, the show went long and we were too hyped after the show to drive back to Iowa City right away and -- long story short -- we didn't get back until about 6 AM on Saturday, just a few hours before the game. Well, as you can imagine, we looked like hell rolling into the pre-game coaches' meeting. Hayden was pissed. Oh man, was he ever pissed off. He chewed us out but good and talked about firing us. Barry [Alvarez, then an Iowa assistant coach] and Bill [Snyder, then offensive coordinator at Iowa] talked him down from that. And we went out to beat Purdue 42-14, so he wasn't too mad about anything after that."
Ferentz indicated that his personal history made him excited when he learned about Iowa's bowl destination.
"I was really pumped when I heard we were going to the Slayer Bowl. I didn't realize there was a bowl named after the greatest friggin' thrash metal band of all time, but who can keep track, you know? The other day Brian [Ferentz, his son and an assistant coach at Iowa] was trying to explain to me what the heck a bitcoin was and why it was sponsoring a bowl game."
When Ferentz was informed that the bowl was actually the TaxSlayer Bowl and that its sponsor was actually a company that produced online tax assistance software, he expressed some dismay.
"TaxSlayer? Like, they help you do your taxes? Oh. Well, I guess that's useful. Mary has a fella at H&R Block do our taxes, I think, and Brian said he uses TurboTax, but I'm sure TaxSlayer produces a fine quality product at an affordable rate, too. Now, if you'll excuse me, this conversation really made my inner headbanger nostalgic. I'm gonna put on Seasons in the Abyss and rock out."