Kirk Speraw completed is in his 12th season as an assistant coach at Iowa. Speraw, who has over four decades of coaching experience, assists in all aspects of the program including recruiting, opponent scouting, practices, player development and game preparation.
Speraw has helped rejuvenate the Iowa basketball program since arriving at Iowa in 2010. Not only has the attendance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena increased by more than 50 percent, but he helped vault the program back to national prominence on a consistent basis. Iowa has been ranked as high as No. 3 nationally during the 2016 and 2021 seasons. The Hawkeyes were ranked for 16 consecutive weeks in 2019, the final nine weeks of the 2020 season, and in 2021 went wire-to-wire in the top 15 of the AP Poll for the first time since the 1989 campaign.
Fran McCaffery and his coaching staff have won 20 games or more seven of the last nine years. Speraw and the Hawkeyes have placed fifth or better in the Big Ten standings five of the last seven seasons, including a third-place finish in 2021.
Iowa has averaged 20 wins the last 10 seasons, with its 205 victories between 2013-21 being the most over a 10-year span at Iowa since 1986-94.
The last three seasons, Speraw and the Hawkeyes won 20+ games and posted NCAA Tournament victories in 2019 and 2021. Dillard recruited and coached two-time unanimous consensus first-team All-American, and Big Ten and National Player of the Year Luka Garza. The center was also the consensus 2021 National Player of the Year, including winning the Naismith Trophy and John R. Wooden Award.
Iowa won 15 games over AP Top 25 opponents over the last two seasons (2020-21), tops among all Division I teams. In 2021, Iowa won 14 Big Ten regular season games — its highest total since 1987 — and reached 10 league wins for the sixth time in seven seasons. The Hawkeyes earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, tying its highest ever seed in tournament history (No. 2 in 1987).
Speraw and the Hawkeyes have led the Big Ten in scoring each of the last two seasons, including ranking fifth nationally in 2021. Iowa averaged 83.7 points per game in 2021, its highest scoring average in 32 years. Additionally, Iowa was tops in Division I in assists per game (19.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0) in 2021.
The past 11 years at Iowa, Speraw helped coach 17 Hawkeyes to professional contracts, including Joe Wieskamp and Garza, who were both selected in the 2021 NBA Draft. Wieskamp was chosen by the San Antonio Spurs, while the Detroit Pistons picked Garza. The University of Iowa was one of only two Big Ten schools with multiple draft picks in 2021.
Speraw has helped mentor nine Hawkeyes to All-Big Ten status during his tenure, including five first team honorees: Roy Devyn Marble (2014), Aaron White (2015), Jarrod Uthoff (2016), Peter Jok (2017), and Luka Garza (2020 & 2021). In addition to the all-conference accolades, Garza (twice), Uthoff, and Jok were All-Americans. Speraw helped develop frontcourt players Gabriel Olaseni and Nicholas Baer, who were each voted Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year in 2015 and 2017, respectively. He also helped coach eight All-Big Ten Freshman performers (Eric May in 2010; Melsahn Basabe in 2011; Aaron White in 2012; Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook in 2017; Joe Wieskamp in 2019; CJ Fredrick in 2020; Keegan Murray in 2021).
Speraw is the primary assistant who works with Iowa’s perimeter players. In 2017, shooting guard Peter Jok became Iowa’s fifth Big Ten scoring champion in school history, averaging 19.9 points per game. Jok also established new school free throw records in single-game makes (22), career percentage (.864), and single-season accuracy (.911). This past season, Joe Wieskamp earned second-team all-conference laurels. He was the only Division I player in the country with 400+ points, 200+ rebounds, 70+ 3-pointers, and 25+ steals in 2021.
Speraw also helped mentor guard Jordan Bohannon to historic heights. Bohannon is Iowa’s career leader in four statistical categories: assists (639), 3-pointers (364), free throw percentage (.887) and double-double in points and assists (8). Jok and Bohannon combined for 174 triples in 2017, the most by a duo in a single season at Iowa. He is one of only two players in program history to total more than 1,200 points and 600 assists. Lastly, he made 34 consecutive free throws to share Iowa’s consecutive free throws made record with the legendary Chris Street.
Speraw, who is a Sioux City, Iowa, native was a two-time Hawkeye letterman (1978-79) who played for Hall of Fame head coach Lute Olson. He was a member of the 1978-79 squad that won 20 contests and a Big Ten title. As a senior, he was named the team’s most inspirational player.
As both an assistant and head coach, Speraw has mentored dozens of players who have played professionally, including Hawkeyes Ronnie Lester, Steve Krafcisin, Vince Brookins, Steve Waite, Kenny Arnold, Kevin Boyle, Mark Gannon and Bobby Hansen.
Speraw began his coaching career with the Hawkeyes, serving as a graduate assistant with Iowa’s 1979-80 team that advanced to the Final Four. The Hawkeyes went 23-8 that season. Speraw then moved to Denver University, where he was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for two years (1980-82).
Speraw joined the Hawkeyes after serving 17 years as head coach at the University of Central Florida (1993-2010). During his tenure, 18 of his players received all-league honors, including four first team honorees. Additionally, since the start of the 1993-94 season, 54 of Speraw’s UCF student-athletes earned academic all-conference recognition.
His tenure included four NCAA Tournament berths (1994, ’96, ’04 and ‘05). In 2006-07, he was recognized as Conference USA Coach of the Year after guiding the Knights to 22 victories and a second-place league finish. His most successful season at UCF was in 2003-04, when the Knights finished 25-6, received votes in the top 25 and won the Atlantic Sun championship, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Prior to his head coaching job at UCF, he served as an assistant coach at the University of Florida for three seasons (1990-93) under Head Coach Lon Kruger. While on the Florida staff, the Gators participated in two NIT’s, including advancing to the semifinals in 1992.
Prior to his three years in Gainesville, Speraw was the head coach at Pensacola Junior College (PJC) from 1987-90. At PJC, he led the Pirates to an 82-21 record and three consecutive Panhandle Conference titles. His 1989-90 team won 31 games and finished fifth nationally. The team’s success that year earned Speraw national recognition. He was tabbed the NABC/Kodak National Junior College Coach of the Year, as well as the state’s Coach of the Year.
Speraw also had a coaching stop at Florida Southern, serving as an assistant from 1982-87. The Moccasins posted a 100-46 record and made four appearances in the Division II NCAA Tournament, including a third-place finish in 1986.
Speraw and his wife, Tracy (an Iowa City native), have two sons, Drew and Dustin, and two daughters, Brooke and Bailey. Drew played for his dad at Central Florida for four years.