Iowa offensive line coach Tim Polasek and running backs coach Derrick Foster have left the program for other opportunities, it has been announced in recent days. Polasek will become the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Wyoming. Foster will take the running backs coach position with the LA Chargers.
Polasek joined the staff in the most recent shakeup, following the 2016 season and the retirement of Greg Davis. He had previously served as offensive coordinator at North Dakota State under Craig Bohl. Of course, Bohl is now the head coach at Wyoming, so Polasek's decision makes a lot of sense. There is also the possibility that, if Polasek was being groomed as a succession plan for Brian Ferentz, a move into a playcalling role at a lower level of the FBS would make some sense. One of the most obvious holes left by Polasek's departure is in recruiting, where he had some success bringing in players from Wisconsin.
Foster arrived a year after Polasek, as Iowa's ninth assistant. He took over running back coaching duties from Brian Ferentz (who assumed tight end coaching duties, freeing up LeVar Woods as a full-time special teams coordinator) and oversaw the development of Tyler Goodson during his three years in the program. He was also Iowa's offensive recruiting coordinator for the last two years, at a time when the Hawkeyes pulled in one of the best classes in school history. In Los Angeles, he'll join a staff with former Hawkeye backup quarterback Tom Donatell.
Neither Polasek nor Foster played football at Iowa, but Ferentz has been increasingly prone to hire former players to his staff. Three current coaches are former Iowa players under Ferentz, and a fourth put two sons through the Hawkeye program. So when Polasek's departure was announced, all eyes turned to former Iowa offensive lineman A.J. Blazek. The former Hawkeye spent the last two years coaching offensive line at North Dakota State, took the offensive line job with Wyoming earlier this year, then left almost immediately for the same position at Vanderbilt (which was announced just a day before Polasek's departure). Changing jobs three times in the same offseason might not be the best look, but Iowa would be a safe landing place for a while if he was interested.
Foster is a tougher proposition, as he is (1) a Southern recruiter on a staff that wants to grab a few guys per year out of Georgia and Florida, and (2) an African American coach for a program still dealing with claims of racism. Running backs coach is generally treated as an introductory position, so there's a chance that Iowa promotes from within. There is, of course, a Ferentz-favorite former Iowa running back and coach just sitting out there, but his focus has been on strength & conditioning rather than position coaching.
There haven't been many assistants under Kirk Ferentz to move on for bigger and better things. Here, there doesn't seem to be much argument that Polasek and Foster did just that. Best of luck to them in the future.