Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz took time away from preparing to beat Kentucky to help Kentucky.

The Hawkeyes and Wildcats will meet in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day, but they’re allies away from the football field now.

After historically destructive tornadoes ravaged western Kentucky, especially the city of Mayfield, Ferentz reported reached out to Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, a former defensive back at Iowa. He wanted to help.

Stoops told Ferentz the university’s athletics department is raising money for victims through a telethon and an online fundraiser.

On Monday, Ferentz encouraged Iowa football fans to donate to the American Red Cross to assist those impacted by the devastating tornadoes. The death toll has now eclipsed 70 in Kentucky.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the fundraiser had tallied nearly $200,000.

“Game-planning for a bowl is nothing compared to the challenge the victims of this weekend’s severe weather outbreak are facing now and long into the future,” Ferentz said. “Hawk fans are a passionate fan base. Let’s show them how compassionate we can be.”

Ferentz is right about the compassion fan base. Look at the “Kinnick Wave” tradition that began in 2017. At the conclusion of each first quarter at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, fans, players, coaches and stadium staff turn to wave at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, which overlooks the stadium.

While Ferentz is aiming for his 10th career bowl victory on Jan. 1, 2022, the 23rd-year Hawkeyes coach has already proven to be a winner in Kentucky.

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