McCaffery to Be Next Head Coach

March 28, 2010

Coach McCaffery Photo Gallery

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Thirty-six years ago, University of Iowa Director of Athletics Bump Elliott went to the west coast to hire Lute Olson from Long Beach State in an attempt to resurrect the Hawkeye men’s basketball program.

Today, current UI Athletics Director Gary Barta confirmed that his search for the 22nd head men’s basketball coach at the UI was complete. This time, however, Barta found his man on the east coast, tabbing Fran McCaffery of Siena.

The UI will introduce McCaffery to the media tomorrow morning.

McCaffery has a 14-year coaching record of 251-177 with stops at Lehigh (49-39 in three seasons), North Carolina-Greensboro (90-87 in six seasons) and Siena (112-51 in five seasons). He has guided teams to winning records in 11 of those 15 seasons. Siena, located in Loudonville, N.Y., has won the last three championships in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The year before McCaffery took over, the Saints had a record of 6-24.

A former assistant coach for Digger Phelps at Notre Dame, McCaffery has made five trips to the NCAA tournament with three different programs. In 1988, he led Lehigh to the tournament, falling in the first round to Temple, 87-73. McCaffery and UNC-Greensboro fell in the first round to Stanford in 2001, 89-60.

While at Siena, McCaffery won first-round games in the NCAA tournament two of the last three seasons: in 2008 against Vanderbilt (83-62) and in 2009 against Ohio State (74-72). This season the Saints were eliminated in the first round by Purdue, 72-64.

McCaffery, a Philadelphia native, and his wife Margaret have four children: sons, Connor, Patrick and Jonathan and a daughter, Marit.


“I think Iowa made an outstanding choice. In the Siena games I’ve watched, they were well coached and very well organized.”

Ronnie Lester
UI All-American
Assistant General Manager, Los Angeles Lakers

“Iowa has hired a class act. Respected by his coaching peers, Coach McCaffery is a proven winner who rebuilt the Siena Saints program in quick fashion by being a relentless recruiter who instilled an up tempo style that fans loved and players embraced. During the search process he expressed his vision for the future of the Hawkeye program while understanding the proud tradition of University of Iowa Basketball.”

Bobby Hansen
UI NCAA Final Four member and NBA World Champion
Hawkeye Radio Network Color Analyst

“Fran McCaffery is a good solid hire for the University of Iowa. Iowa has been hoping for a winner and I believe one has arrived. He’s won at Lehigh, UNC-Greensboro and Siena — if you can win at those places, you can win anywhere. His teams are enjoyable to watch with their style of play; he lets his kids play free. If Iowa fans give Fran a little time, he’ll get the Hawkeyes back to the NCAA Tournament on a yearly basis.”

Doug Gottlieb
College Basketball Analyst, ESPN

“I think Fran McCaffery is a good choice for Iowa and I think Iowa is a good choice for Fran. I hope he does well. He guided Siena to NCAA Tournament appearances the last three s and posted good tournament wins over Vanderbilt (2008) and Ohio State (2009).”

John Feinstein
Sportswriter and author

“I have been impressed with Coach McCaffery’s consistent success, most recently at Siena. His teams are well prepared and his development of players, particularly on the perimeter, should fit in well with the young roster in Iowa City.”

Shon Morris
Big Ten Network Color Analyst

“Fran McCaffery is a great hire for Iowa. He was a great assistant coach and has done a great job in making Siena the Gonzaga of the east. He will bring back the traditions of Iowa basketball.”

Digger Phelps
College Basketball Analyst, ESPN
Former Head Coach, Notre Dame

“The number one thing about Fran, is that he has a great feel for the game, and, he understands players. He and I spent a lot of time in traversing the state of Iowa, trying to get Iowa kids to come to Notre Dame. Fran has a great knack for setting an offense and he is a great defensive coach. He has great relationships with his players. This is a great fit for Iowa and a great fit for Fran.”

John MacLeod
Former Head Coach, Notre Dame
Former Head Coach, Golden State

“Fran McCaffery is a fine basketball coach, and an even finer person. He can teach the game, identify and attract talent, and he is a man of great substance and integrity. Iowa has made a great hire in McCaffery.”

Jay Bilas
College Basketball Analyst, ESPN


Guard Matt Gatens
(on his impressions of new Head Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery)
“I was really impressed. He started off by saying what an honor it is to be our coach. I was really impressed with the way he handled himself. He communicated very well and told us what he wanted to do and I was pretty impressed.”

(on the transition from coach to coach)
“I hope it is a smooth transition. Obviously it is a change and it will take a little time to get use to a new system and a different philosophy. But hopefully we can relate and have a good time together and get this thing going.”

Center Jarryd Cole
(on his impressions of new Head Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery)
“He seems like a great guy. He knows exactly what he wants to come in here and do. He has a vision of what he wants us to do in the future and it sounds pretty successful.”

(on the transition from coach to coach)
“As long as everybody stays positive and buys into the new system I think it will go smoothly. There is no reason it shouldn’t. The way he wants to coach and his philosophy on things sounds really good.”

Guard Cully Payne
(on his impressions of new Head Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery)
“Great impression, he seems like a great guy. Definitely knows hoops well and he seems like he has a great family. Between us guys, we are really excited to play for coach. Mr. Barta and Mr. Mims did a great job and we are really excited after meeting coach today.”

(on the transition from coach to coach)
“I think the transition will be great. Coach was real in depth with wanting to get to know everybody which is a great feeling for us. We all left the room and looked at each other and said this is it and coach will be a great fit for us. We are excited to play for him.”

Forward Eric May
(on his impressions of new Head Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery)
“I like what he wants to do with our team and his philosophy of the game and how he wants to play. I am excited to get going.”

(on the transition from coach to coach)
“The transition will be smooth. We have a good group of guys. The change of coaches doesn’t change how you have to work. You always have to keep working. If everybody keeps their mind right it will be a smooth transition.”


Forward Ryan Bowen (1995-98)
“I was excited after reading about Fran and his record and history. I got a lot of calls from former coaches that know him very well and they all said wonderful things about him. I think everyone is excited to have him here and see how it goes.”

Guard Kenyon Murray (1993-96)
“Fran cut his teeth recruiting. Like I say, he’s a tireless worker and he’s going to go out and grind and that’s someone we need. Someone who’s not afraid to put us out there and say, `Hey, this guy is a top-10 recruit and we’re going after him because we’re Iowa’. I think that’s the way it should be. I want the program to be at the level where I chose Iowa over Notre Dame, Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State. I think Fran is going to go out and do the work that he’s always done. He’s going to identify kids that he feels can take us to the next level, so I’m pretty happy about it.”

Forward Wade Lookingbill (1989-93)
“I think what Coach McCaffery said today was terrific. He gave all the right answers and was talking about getting back to the way things used to be. He talked about the fans at Carver, which have been lacking the last few years, and it was nice that he talked about getting ex-players involved. That really excites someone like myself who grew up in Iowa and follows the team; someone who may not get to as many games as they’d like to, but would like to be part of this program and see it do well.”