Sherman Dillard is in his 13th year with the University of Iowa men’s basketball staff bringing a wealth of expertise on and off the court.
Dillard has assisted in the rise of the Hawkeye basketball program back to national prominence since 2012. Iowa’s coaching staff has guided the Hawkeyes to 20 or more eight of the last 10 years. Dillard and the Hawkeyes have placed fifth or better in the Big Ten standings six of the last eight seasons, including a third-place finish in 2021.
In 2022, the Hawkeyes won four games in four days to capture the Big Ten Tournament title, their third in program history, which ties as third most in the league. Iowa finished fourth in the conference standings and won 26 games; the second highest single season win total in program history. Dillard was recognized as one of the Most Impactful High Major Assistant Coaches in Division I Men’s Basketball following the season by Silver Waves Media.
Iowa has had one of the most dominating players in college basketball each of the past three seasons. Luka Garza was twice named national player of the year and a consensus first-team All-America selection in 2020 and 2021, while Keegan Murray was a finalist for the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, earned consensus first-team All-America laurels and was named the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year in 2022. Furthermore, Dillard and the Hawkeye staff have recruited and coached a first-team All-Big Ten honoree seven of the last nine years.
Over the last three seasons, Iowa combined to win 68 games — the fourth most over a three-year stretch in program history and most since 1987-89 — finished each season ranked in the AP Poll — something that has not been accomplished in over three decades — and won 17 contests over AP Top 25 opponents. Additionally, Iowa has had the Big Ten scoring champion each of the past three seasons, which is something that has not been accomplished by any team in the league in over 50 years.
In 2021, Iowa won 14 Big Ten regular season games, its highest total since 1987. The Hawkeyes earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, tying its highest ever seed in the tournament.
Dillard and the Hawkeyes have led the Big Ten each of the past three seasons, including ranking fifth nationally in 2021 (83.7) and 2022 (83.2). Iowa averaged more than 83 points in consecutive seasons for the first time in 27 years. Additionally, Iowa was tops in Division I in assist-to-turnover ratio in 2021 (2.0) and 2022 (1.74).
The past 12 years at Iowa, Dillard helped coach 19 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.
Dillard has helped mentor 10 Hawkeyes to All-Big Ten status during his tenure, including six first team honorees: Roy Devyn Marble (2014), Aaron White (2015), Jarrod Uthoff (2016), Peter Jok (2017), Luka Garza (2020 & 2021), and Keegan Murray (2022). In addition to the all-conference accolades, Garza (twice), Murray, Uthoff, and Jok were All-Americans. Dillard 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).
Frontcourt players have enjoyed recent success under McCaffery and the coaching staff. The last three seasons, Iowa bigs have had unprecedented success. Garza was a two-time National and Big Ten Player of the Year, unanimous consensus first-team All-American, Pete Newell Big Man of the Year, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year in 2020 and 2021. Last season, Murray was voted the consensus first-team All-America and was the recipient of the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. Four years ago, Cook became the ninth player in program history to total more than 1,300 points and 600 rebounds. Baer is the only Hawkeye to ever total more than 750 points, 500 rebounds, 100 assists, 100 steals, 100 blocks, and 100 3-pointers made. Additionally, Dillard helped mentor Jok (19.9 ppg), Garza (23.9 ppg in 2020; 24.1 ppg in 2021) and Murray (23.5 ppg in 2022) in becoming Iowa’s fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth Big Ten scoring champions in school history.
Dillard has four decades of coaching experience, serving as a college assistant or head coach. He spent his first 15 years as an assistant coach at three institutions. Dillard began his coaching career under Head Coach Lefty Driesell at Maryland, spending six seasons (1979-85). He helped coach the Terrapins to four 20-plus win seasons and six postseason appearances, including five NCAA Tournament berths. The 1980, 1984 and 1985 squads reached the Sweet 16, while the 1984 team won the ACC Tournament.
He then spent three years at California (1985-88) under Lou Campanelli, who was his coach at James Madison. The Bears posted two third-place Pac-10 finishes and two NIT appearances during his tenure in Berkeley. After three seasons at California, he returned to the ACC and Georgia Tech for six seasons (1988-94). While in Atlanta, he helped Coach Bobby Cremins lead the Yellow Jackets to six winning seasons and postseason appearances. Georgia Tech played in five NCAA Tournaments, including the Final Four in 1990 and Sweet 16 in 1992.
Dillard received his first head coaching opportunity at Indiana State (1994-97). During his three seasons in Terre Haute, the Sycamores improved each year (29-52 record). He then left Indiana State to return to his alma mater to replace Driesell. Dillard was the Dukes’ head coach for seven years (1997-04). He posted a 93-106 record, sharing a league title and recording three first-division finishes in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). During his tenure, he earned CAA Coach of the Year and NABC District Coach of the Year laurels. His 10-year head coaching record stands at 122-158.
Dillard, a three-time Academic All-American and four-time honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press, played guard at James Madison (1973-78). He led the Dukes in scoring in each of his four years (missed 1976-77 with an injury) and was the team’s top rebounder as a freshman. Dillard is the second-leading scorer (2,065 points) in James Madison history, and his academic excellence merited him an NCAA post-graduate scholarship. After his collegiate career, he was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the 1978 NBA Draft. Additionally, Dillard was honored as a CAA “Legend” in 2009.
Dillard worked as a basketball marketing representative for Nike for six years (2004-10). He served as Global Camp Director, responsible for administrative and operational facets of a series of highly acclaimed camps and academies sponsored by Nike. Those camps included the Nike All-America Camp and select skills academies hosted by NBA stars such as Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Vince Carter, Amaré Stoudemire, and LeBron James (until January 2009).
Dillard is a 1978 magna cum laude James Madison graduate earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education and minor in business, and is a member of the school’s sports hall of fame.
Dillard and his wife Dena have two sons, Ben and Langston. His son Ben was a four-year letterwinner on the Arkansas-Little Rock basketball team.