Longtime coordinator O'Keefe leaves for NFL

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 06, 2012 7:20 AM

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The Iowa football team announced on Feb. 3 that longtime offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe will leave the program to join the Miami Dolphins as their wide-receiver coach.

O'Keefe came to Iowa 13 years ago as part of Kirk Ferentz' original staff; he coached wide receivers in 1999 before switching to quarterbacks in 2000. He presided over an offense that helped the Hawkeyes win 85 games over the past 10 years and that has sent 23 players to the NFL since 2000.

The 58-year-old's most recent group of offensive standouts included a 3,000-yard passer (quarterback James Vandenberg), the second-leading rusher in the Big Ten (Marcus Coker), and the wideout who set four school records (Marvin McNutt).

"Ken's work contributed greatly to our program's success during the past 13 years and more impressively to the growth and development of the young men in our program," Ferentz said in a release. "We wish Ken and [wife] Joanne the most success in this new chapter of his career."

O'Keefe will take the reins of a Dolphins receiving corps headlined by 2012 Pro Bowl MVP Brandon Marshall. Miami has no Iowa grads on its roster, although ESPN football analyst Mel Kiper predicted the team might take offensive lineman Riley Reiff with the eighth pick of the upcoming draft.

The Connecticut native broke into the college coaching ranks as an assistant at the University of New Haven in 1976. He joined the staff at Allegheny College in 1986 and was named head coach in 1990; he posted a 79-10-1 record there, including four undefeated seasons. He became the head coach at Fordham University in 1998 prior to coming to Iowa with Ferentz in 1999.

O'Keefe is the third coach to leave Iowa this off-season, joining former defensive coordinator Norm Parker (retirement) and ex-defensive-line coach Rick Kaczenski (hired by Nebraska). Ferentz is expected to announce one — if not both — of the defensive replacements at a press conference on Wednesday.

— by Seth Roberts

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