By ALISON MCGAUGHEY
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It’s safe to say that Men’s Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery and his family are creating a legacy at Iowa: McCaffery is not only a winning coach for the Hawkeyes, but two of his sons, Connor and Patrick, also play on his team.
The family also is creating another kind of legacy through its history of giving, including ongoing support of a University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics program that specializes in treating adolescents and young adults with cancer. The cause is a personal one for McCaffery and his wife, Margaret: Patrick was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 13 and underwent surgery and cancer treatment at Iowa.
Fran and Margaret McCaffery will share their story in a talk sponsored by the UI Center for Advancement at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union as part of Homecoming Week festivities. The event is open to the public. RSVP: foriowa.info/2pnWOVp
The couple recently announced a gift of $100,022 for the UI Health Care’s Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program, a joint effort between the Comprehensive Cancer Center and UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital that addresses the needs of cancer patients age 13 to 35. (The purposeful numeral 22 in the gift amount reflects a special significance to the family and will be worn by their son Patrick on the court.) The McCafferys were instrumental in launching the program, becoming passionate about the cause after Patrick’s diagnosis in 2014.
Though his health will need to be monitored for the rest of his life, today Patrick is a first-year student-athlete at Iowa looking forward to his first season on the basketball team.
“This university has made a great impact on our family, and it’s important to continue this kind of support so other families can have a similar experience,” Fran McCaffery says.
Fran McCaffery was named head coach of the Iowa men’s basketball team in 2010. Over the last eight years, he and Margaret have hosted an annual fundraising gala to support the fight against cancer; four of those have been dedicated specifically to the AYA program. In addition to their giving to the university, Margaret also serves on the national board of directors of the American Cancer Society. Through their involvement with the society and its Coaches vs. Cancer partnership, the McCafferys have helped raise more than $2 million since 2013.
Fran McCaffery says the lecture is an opportunity for students, athletes, and others to learn about the importance of giving.
“This is how we hope to make a difference,” McCaffery says. “We want our children, our young people, our players to see our involvement. We want to give back to those who have really made a difference in our life.”