March 29, 2010
- What they’re saying about Fran McCaffery
- Watch: McCaffery Discusses Iowa
- Watch: McCaffery on BTN
- Register for ticket information online
- 2010-11 Ticket Information Form
Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Official Sports Report, an e-newsletter delivered daily free to fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes. For more information about the OSR, click HERE.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — In 14 seasons as a head men’s basketball coach, Fran McCaffery has enjoyed his share of highlights: recruiting student-athletes who eventually starred in the NBA, leading three different college programs to the NCAA tournament, and in 1985, becoming the youngest head coach in Division I at the age of 26.
Another accomplishment that stands out is, according to McCaffery, “making Siena proud again.”
McCaffery, 50, spent five seasons at Siena, winning 112 times and taking the Saints to the NCAA tournament the last three years. The season before McCaffery arrived, Siena was 6-24.
Now McCaffery’s goal is to make Iowa proud again. The Hawkeye program has been to the NCAA tournament 24 times, won eight Big Ten Conference regular-season or tournament championships and played in the Final Four three times.
“I have an opportunity to be a part of what has been a great tradition and make it great again,” McCaffery said. “We have to recruit the right way, identifying talent; and we have to play the game the right way, making sure we share the basketball. In this conference, preparation will be absolutely critical.”
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 seasons.
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.
The victory against Ohio State in 2009 was extra-satisfying for McCaffery because Siena was the smallest school in the tournament, Ohio State was the largest school, and the game was played in the Buckeye’s back yard in Dayton, Ohio.
“I have an opportunity to be a part of what has been a great tradition and make it great again. We have to recruit the right way, identifying talent; and we have to play the game the right way, making sure we share the basketball. In this conference, preparation will be absolutely critical.”
McCaffery, a Philadelphia native, and his wife Margaret have four children: sons, Connor, Patrick and Jonathan (Jack) and a daughter, Marit. Although McCaffery has spent most of his life on the east coast, his wife is from St. Paul, Minn., and they met while both were at Notre Dame.
“I’m looking forward to it,” McCaffery said of life in Iowa. “I loved my years at Notre Dame and living in the Midwest is something I really enjoyed. The people here are so genuine. My family is excited about being here, too.”
McCaffery will officially be introduced today at 11 a.m. with a press conference inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. He said he will talk about his coaching philosophy, the style of play Hawkeye fans can expect to see, and how he builds relationships with players.
“I’ll also talk about how excited I am to be here and what a tremendous opportunity it will be to coach in this conference and coaching a program with such a storied basketball tradition,” McCaffery said.
One of the first things McCaffery did upon arrival in Iowa City was to meet with the current Hawkeye players. He said that after his initial press conference today he will meet again for one-on-one conferences with the players.
“I was really impressed,” UI sophomore Matt Gatens said. “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.”
“He seems like a great guy,” Hawkeye junior Jarryd Cole said. “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.”
McCaffery said his style of play requires student-athletes who `think the game’ and make decisions.
“I’ll provide structure, teach and let the players play,” McCaffery said.