- Iowa NCAA Tournament Central
- Read the March issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye Android app!
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
- Photo Gallery
BROOKLYN, New York – – They share the same first name, the same home city of Philadelphia, the same love for college basketball, and are both dedicated to the same cause in their work in raising awareness and funds for Coaches vs. Cancer.
Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery and Temple head coach Fran Dunphy, both natives of Philadelphia, both graduates of Philly area “Big 5” programs, and both highly successful college basketball coaches, are set to lead their respective teams in the NCAA Tournament here on Friday afternoon.
McCaffery has his Hawkeye team in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year. He has 368 career wins (including 117 at Iowa), and has taken four teams to the Big Dance. He graduated from Penn after a highly-successful playing career and immediately began his college coaching career.
Dunphy is also a Philly native, and a graduate of LaSalle University. After starting his coaching career at the high school level, he has coached in the college ranks since 1980. He compiled a 310-163 record as the head coach at Penn (1989-2006), and in 10 seasons at Temple has compiled a 214-119 record. He is one of four active coaches to amaze more than 200 victories at more than one school (Roy Williams, Rick Pitino, and John Calipari).
As each of the head coaches took their turn meeting with the media on Thursday, they shared in their admiration of each other, and admiration of the opponent they will each face in the first round on Friday.
“We know the challenge that is in front of us by a terrific University of Iowa team, coached by a good friend,” said Dunphy, in his opening remarks. “I think he’s had an unbelievable coaching career. He’s done a great job at the University of Iowa. His mom and dad were terrific basketball fans and great Philadelphians. So it’s a great Philadelphia family.”
Dunphy led his team to the American Champions regular season conference title this season, after winning Atlantic 10 Conference titles from 2008-10. His Penn teams won 10 Ivy League titles. This marks the sixth time in 10 seasons he had led the Owls to the NCAA Tournament. He has been impressed by what he has seen in the Hawkeyes.
“They are a really good team and I think this is a whole new world, the NCAA Tournament is a fresh start for everybody,” said Dunphy. “Those two guys (Uthoff and Jok) provide a great challenge for us. We can’t let them up for air, and yet you know they’re going to get their stuff, and we’re just hoping that we limit it.”
Being from Philadelphia and playing at Penn, McCaffery has a wealth of knowledge about what it takes to win among the Big 5 programs.
“I’ve known Fran Dunphy for a long time. I played against teams that he coached in high school,” said McCaffery. “I was happy to see him get the opportunity to move over and coach Temple. He’s averaged, I think, 21 wins for a long period of time. And he’s been able to do that in the city that he loves, where he grew up and where he lives.”
When preparing for Temple, McCaffery sees a team that plays consistently in a certain way, in a number of areas.
“They don’t beat themselves,” said McCaffery. “They take care of the basketball. They rebound the basketball. They move the ball. They share the ball. All the things that as a coach, you want your team to do. So it’s not a surprise that they consistently win wherever he’s coaching.” When one Coach Fran praised his opponent, the other Coach Fran explained why he loves coaching his own team, and why he loves coaching college basketball. Unfortunately, on Friday afternoon, one Philly native will celebrate and move on, while another looks to next year and the future.
“It’s interesting that we would end up here with Temple and Villanova as well, as Jay Wright is another guy that I have tremendous respect for and have known since we were kids,” said McCaffery. “So there’s a mutual respect, but also understanding on that day we’re going to try to beat each other up, and then we’re going to be best friends when the game is over.”
Temple and the Hawkeyes meet at Barclays Center Friday at approximately 2:10 p.m., CT. The winner of Friday’s contest will meet either Villanova or UNC Asheville on Sunday (time TBA).