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Mary Ferentz reflects on Iowa Ladies Football Academy before

6 min read

A significant chapter in Mary Ferentz’s life will close for good on Saturday. The wife of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz will be at the Hansen Football Performance Center and Kinnick Stadium for an event catered specifically for women. 

Twelve years ago, Ferentz began the Iowa Ladies Football Academy, a fundraising event for the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The program began with a question: “What can we do?” to help raise money for the new hospital that overlooks Kinnick today. 

“I mean, women make up a huge percentage of the fan base,” Ferentz said in an interview with the Register. “And we often get overlooked, so we decided we’d try this ladies football academy. Sounded like a good idea.” 

Nine camps have raised more than $2.4 million. The 10th will be the last. The COVID pandemic prevented the event from happening in 2020 and 2021. Some of the yearly participants are still processing the reality that this year is the final camp. 

“I’m in the denial phase of the grief process about this ending,” said Annette Taylor, the event’s top fundraiser. “I’m just refusing to think about it. I told Mary I’m going to be lost. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”