If you were a high school football player in Iowa, there is a good chance that you grew up dreaming of becoming a Hawkeye, wearing the black and gold and playing in historic Kinnick Stadium.
But behind those players on the field is a team working to make sure everything from the game day video board to the Twitter account and the plays on the field run as smoothly as possible.
Some members of this team-behind-the-scenes have ties to Iowa. For others, the connection came later on. But each one has become part of the family that brings the action to Kinnick every fall.
Ben Hansen, the assistant director of football operations for the Hawkeyes, is a perfect example of an Iowa kid, growing up in Hampton, Iowa as a Hawkeye fan, dreaming of somehow becoming part of this storied program.
“I grew up idolizing coach Ferentz. Now being on staff I have found that he is everything I thought he was and more,” Hansen said. “The Iowa football program is a family. Everyone genuinely cares about everyone.”
“I still get chills on game day in Kinnick, as we make our way down the tunnel and onto the field,” Hansen added.
In a previous stint with the Iowa football program, Hansen worked with the defensive line as a student assistant in 2009 and 2010. He graduated in 2010 with a degree in recreation management and left to pursue his master’s degree at the University of Tennessee.
Hansen also served as an intern at Stanford University’s Cardinal Athletic Department with facilities, operations and event management before returning to the UI.
Hansen and wife Emily have an infant son, Baylor.
Broderick Binns was named Iowa football’s director of player development in April 2016. A four-year letterman for the Hawkeyes during his playing career, Binns also served on the Iowa coaching staff as a graduate assistant coach in 2014 and 2015, assisting with Hawkeye special teams.
Binns enjoyed a successful playing career as a defensive end for the Hawkeyes from 2008-11. He earned second team All-Big Ten honors as a senior and received the Roy J. Carver Most Valuable Player Award for defense.
Binns is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, but he knew, while playing for the Hawkeyes, that his dream post-graduation job would be as an Iowa staff member.
“Being on the staff here is a dream come true for me,” Binns said. “I, too think very highly of coach Ferentz and what he stands for.”
“When I was being recruited, and made my official visit to Iowa, it was different than the other schools and programs I visited,” Binns added. “We do it right here. We win, our players graduate, they are accountable and they are trustworthy. All of this is a direct reflection of coach Ferentz’s leadership.”
Binns and his wife Kailey have an infant daughter, Brooklynn.
Max Allen, now in his fourth year as Iowa football’s director of new media, did not grow up or live in Iowa before joining the Iowa athletic staff, but he does have ties to the Hawkeye state. His father, Eric, is a Monticello, Iowa native, graduating from Monticello High School in 1967.
Allen, a native of Durango, Colorado, graduated from the University of Colorado in 2010, earning his bachelor’s degree in business (finance). He served as an administrative assistant for the Hawkeyes during the 2013 season.
Allen works closely with the Iowa football staff regarding design and production of print and electronic recruiting materials, management of football-specific social media and works with athletics external relations regarding football-specific activities.
“The Iowa Way is to be tough, smart, physical and together,” said Allen. “We try to create that feeling in all content we produce.”
“It is amazing when alums come back just to visit or as an honorary captain. They know the Iowa culture that coach Ferentz has created and ingrained in them. The culture is family and it is special,” Allen added.
Chris Ruth, the assistant director of football video operations, had no ties, whatsoever, to Iowa prior to becoming a staff member. Ruth, now in his fourth year as assistant video coordinator at the University of Iowa, joined the Hawkeye’s after a five-year stint at Florida State, where he was employed as a producer and editor for Seminole Productions.
Ruth’s duties include assisting with the breakdown of football practice and game video, as well as the weekly video scouting preparation throughout the football season. Chris produces highlight videos for social media, Kinnick Stadium video board features and motivational films that the football team views before each game.
“The Iowa culture is definitely something that helped convince me that Iowa City was the place I wanted to work and raise a family,” Ruth said.
“Within what I do here, I work hard to show the people the Iowa tradition and culture. The family atmosphere is true and sincere. It is like nothing I have ever witnessed before,” Ruth added.
Chris and his wife Britney, have one young son, Devland.
The Iowa football program is a huge team made up of many smaller teams within. These four men have become close friends during their time with the Black and Gold, and contribute daily to the Iowa Way.