Ferentz family set for 7th ladies' academy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ferentz family set for 7th ladies' academy

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

This fall the swarm returns to Kinnick stadium, but this summer the ladies get to do it first.

"We like to promote it as a day in the life of Iowa football,"said Mary Ferentz, chair of the University of Iowa Children's Hospital Council and wife of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz.

She's talking about the Iowa Ladies Football Academ, and the first lady of Hawkeye football has helped run the show all 6 years of the event.

"Forty percent of the fans are female, and I think female fans get overlooked," said Mary, "and a lot of us are really in to this sport and know a lot. A lot of us don't know a lot, but would like to."

Kirk, who's been part of it from the beginning, agrees. "The thing that always amazes me is the enthusiasm and the energy of the ladies, they're all acting like they're getting away with something, they are in some regards. The men are locked out."

The event goes beyond fun as it has raised more than one and a half million dollars for the University of Iowa Children's hospital with one million going to the new Stead family addition that fittingly towers over Kinnick Stadium and will offer an amazing view for kids this fall.

"For 7 home games a year it will be a special place for them to take their mind off their problems and act normal for a short time," said Mary, "It brings tears to my eyes. At the ladies football academy we've watched it rise out of the ground."

As have the nearly 70 to 80 Hawkeye players who volunteer with the academy each year helping to make it a very memorable experience.

Mary says the reactions from participants has been amazing. "The responses we've got, 'best day of my life second to my wedding and the birth of my children.'"

Registration costs $50. Participants must also raise a minimum of $500 for the childrens' hospital. Information is available at iowaladiesfootballacademy.com.

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