His career as a football coach has taken Frank Verducci all over the United States and beyond.
It now has taken him back home… almost.
Verducci, a former Iowa assistant coach under Hayden Fry and an Iowa City resident for the past 24 years, has joined Mark Farley’s staff at Northern Iowa as offensive tackles and tight ends coach.
Verducci spent last season as an assistant coach with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He negotiated a settlement with his contract in Montreal and now looks forward to coaching closer to home and for one of the top FCS programs in the country.
“I consider myself very fortunate with the opportunity to settle my contract in Montreal, with the timing of coach Farley contacting me and offering me an opportunity here at Northern Iowa,” Verducci said Tuesday night in a telephone interview. “It just allows me the advantage of coaching so close to home and with a program that’s a perennial contender for the FCS playoffs.”
Verducci and his wife, Noel, have kept a permanent residence in Iowa City since Frank served as a Hawkeye assistant coach in the 1990s. Verducci lost his job at Iowa after Fry retired in 1998.
He and Noel considered moving to Cincinnati in 1999 after Frank was hired by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he spent three seasons as an assistant coach. But they wanted to raise their two children in Iowa City and have them both graduate from Regina.
Frank’s son, Jack, already has graduated from Regina and currently plays football at Princeton. His daughter, Cammy, is a sophomore at Regina and is active in sports.
“What I’m really looking forward to is being able to be home on Saturday night after a game, which really I haven’t done since I coached for the Hawks,” Verducci said.
Verducci brings a wealth of experience to his new job. He also has coached for the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, St. Louis Rams, Notre Dame and the University of Florida since being relieved of his duties at Iowa.
Verducci’s new job reunites him with Northern Iowa tight end Braden Lehman, who attended Regina and played football with Verducci’s son. West Branch graduate Jack Rummells also was listed as Northern Iowa’s starting left tackle heading into spring practice, which started this week.
Verducci’s first game with Northern Iowa will put him back in Kinnick Stadium on Aug. 30 when the Panthers face Iowa in the 2014 season opener. He knows what to expect after coaching in numerous games at Kinnick Stadium, including when he was an assistant coach at Northwestern in 1987 and 1988.
“I’m sure it’s something that in due time I’ll look forward to,” Verducci said.
Northern Iowa has provided Verducci with a place to stay in Cedar Falls. He also plans to commute back and forth from Iowa City when his schedule allows for it.
“Coach Farley has been very generous as far as letting me know that, hey, when spring practice is over, he’s given me a very open schedule,” Verducci said. “And obviously when we come back to training camp, then it’ll be 24-7.
“But he has really made this as good an opportunity as it could possibly be. I owe him a lot of gratitude for structuring this thing for me.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football