Harty column: The hiring of Tim Polasek just looks and feels right


By Pat Harty

IOWA CITY, Iowa - There is no such thing as a bad coaching hire when it happens.

It is similar to when a recruit makes a verbal commitment or signs a national letter of intent.

You celebrate the achievement and assume the best because there hasn’t been time to fail or succeed yet.

The newest member to any coaching staff is considered an improvement mostly because they’re new.

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz is expected to introduce Tim Polasek as his offensive line coach, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.

Ferentz almost certainly will describe Polasek as the perfect fit for the program because that’s what head coaches do when somebody new climbs aboard.

Chris White and Bobby Kennedy also were described as great fits for Iowa when they were hired to coach running backs and receivers, respectively, four years ago.

They both have since been relieved of their duties because they weren’t great fits at Iowa for reasons that surfaced after they were hired.

Only time and performance will determine whether Polasek is a good hire.

But he sure looks good on paper after serving as the offensive coordinator at FCS power North Dakota State for the past three seasons.

Polasek looks good from a coaching standpoint, from a recruiting standpoint and from a standpoint that he fits into the Iowa culture.

His Bison offense shredded Iowa for 239 rushing yards during a 23-21 upset on Sept. 17 at Kinnick Stadium. Their execution that day was crisp and efficient.

Polasek also coached star quarterback Carson Wentz in 2014 and 2015, with the Bison winning the FCS national title in both seasons.

Polasek was the tight ends and fullbacks coach for a 12-2 Northern Illinois team that advanced to the 2013 Mid-American Conference championship game and Poinsettia Bowl.  He was a graduate assistant at NDSU in 2006 before being promoted to running backs coach in 2007 and also served as the special teams coordinator and was the fullbacks and tight ends coach in 2012.

Polasek was an assistant coach at Wisconsin-Stevens Point for three seasons before coming to North Dakota State. He coached the defensive backs (2005), wide receivers/tight ends (2003-04) and quarterbacks (spring 2003). He was the special teams coordinator in 2004-05 and passing game coordinator in 2003-04.

A former star quarterback at Concordia University in Wisconsin, Polasek earned his degree in 2002 and then started working his way up the coaching ladder, while staying in the Midwest. He has strong recruiting ties in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

He also reportedly has a strong passion for recruiting and a knack for getting prospects to trust him and believe in him.

If true, that’ll be a major step in the right direction for an Iowa program that always faces challenges in recruiting.

Another reason to like Polasek is his connection to winning.

North Dakota State won two FCS national titles, produced a star quarterback and defeated Iowa during the three seasons in which Polasek directed the offense.

The same positive vibe that I feel with the hiring of Polasek wasn’t nearly as strong when White and Kennedy were hired at Iowa.

Polasek fits the Iowa culture in so many ways, from his Midwestern roots to his reliance on a powerful rushing attack.

North Dakota State basically beat Iowa at its own game in September.

That obviously made an impression on Ferentz, who then made Polasek an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Polasek's experience should help Brian Ferentz adjust to his new role as the Iowa offensive coordinator. Polasek apparently feels that he can handle the unique father-son coaching dynamic that exists at Iowa or he wouldn't have accepted the job.

Ferentz is close to adding another assistant, with Kelton Copeland also set to join the Iowa staff.

Copeland has coached at Northern Illinois for the past four seasons. He coached receivers in 2016 after coaching running backs the previous three seasons.

Copeland reportedly will coach running backs at Iowa, but he also would fit as the receivers coach. The receiver position at Iowa needs a serious upgrade in talent.

Copeland’s Twitter profile no longer has him affiliated with the Northern Illinois football program, suggesting he is on the move.

However, Donna Turner from the Northern Illinois Sports Information Department said Tuesday that she hadn’t been told that Copeland had resigned from his position.

But with coaching searches, a lot can happen in a short time.

Copeland will be an Iowa assistant soon, perhaps this week.