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Iowa assistant leaves staff to open Culver's restaurant

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Kirk Ferentz has had plenty of success over the years in convincing his assistants to remain in Iowa City over outside interest. Apparently, though, some outside interest is a little tougher to see off than that from other football programs.

Longtime Iowa assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson announced over the weekend that he would be leaving the Hawkeye staff, effective immediately, "to pursue a career opportunity outside of football." Johnson then took to Twitter to specify what that opportunity would be: the chance to open a new Culver's restaurant franchise in Hendersonville, Tenn.:

Johnson had been a member of the Hawkeye staff since 1999 and had served as Ferentz's recruiting coordinator for the past decade. The past two seasons he had also worked as the team's assistant defensive line coach, having coached tight ends and linebackers for Ferentz the previous decade as well.

“My family and I can't thank everyone enough for our 15 years at Iowa,” Johnson said in a statement. "From a professional standpoint, I have worked for the best person in college football. Coach Ferentz is the best teacher, leader, and person I have ever been around; he truly embodies the Iowa way."

As for Culver's -- the Wisconsin-based "fast casual" chain that's the closest thing to a Big Ten culinary byword a la Chick-Fil-A in SEC country -- its combination of ButterBurgers and frozen custard seems due for an expansion Southward, even if Iowa games on the television might not go over so well with its forthcoming Hendersonville clientele.

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