In his first eight years as the University of Iowa head men's basketball coach, Fran McCaffery has brought enthusiasm and excitement back to the Hawkeye basketball program. After two decades as a head coach, he has coached his teams to eight NCAA tournaments and four NITs, posting an overall record of 402-297 (.575).
McCaffery's next game will be his 700th as a collegiate head coach. He notched career victory No. 400 this past season with Iowa's 94-80 triumph over Minnesota on Jan. 30, 2018.
McCaffery was named the University of Iowa's 22nd head men's basketball coach on March 29, 2010. The Philadelphia native has accumulated 17 upper division conference finishes in 22 seasons as a head coach. McCaffery and the Iowa Hawkeyes have finished in the first division of the Big Ten five of the last six seasons. Additionally, Iowa was one of only three schools to record a Big Ten record of .500 or better between 2013-17.
Since taking over the program in 2010, the Hawkeyes have vaulted back to national prominence. Iowa has appeared in a postseason tournament six of the last seven seasons (3 NCAA, 3 NIT). McCaffery coached the Hawkeyes to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances (2014, 2015, 2016) -- something that had not been accomplished in 23 years -- and reached the NIT championship game in 2013 with a team that won 25 games.
McCaffery is the first head coach to lead Iowa to 18 or more victories in six straight seasons (2012-17). Overall, the Hawkeyes amassed 140 victories the last seven seasons (20 average) under McCaffery's direction. McCaffery's 151 wins rank second behind Tom Davis for the most in the first eight seasons as Iowa's head coach.
McCaffery continues to get the most of his talent, coaching seven Hawkeyes to All-Big Ten status the past seven seasons. Devyn Marble (2014), Aaron White (2015), Jarrod Uthoff (2016), and Peter Jok (2017) became the first Hawkeyes to garner first-team all-conference laurels in consecutive seasons since 1945-48. McCaffery also developed Gabriel Olaseni and Nicholas Baer into the 2015 and 2017 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, respectively.
The past eight years, McCaffery has coached 13 Hawkeyes to professional contracts, including Devyn Marble and Aaron White, who were selected by the Orlando Magic (2014) and Washington Wizards (2015) in the NBA Draft, respectively.
McCaffery recruited and coached White to an illustrious Hawkeye career. White became the first Iowa player to score 1,800 points and collect 900 rebounds, while also leading the team in rebounding all four years. He finished his career ranked second in scoring (1,859) and third in rebounding (901). He made more free throws than any other Big Ten player in 50 years, ranking third all-time in Big Ten annals with 618.
McCaffery may have pulled off his best coaching job at Iowa in 2017, working with one of the youngest teams in the country and nearly receiving a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Iowa tied for fifth in the Big Ten and was one of the last four out of the tournament field. Jok led the team, becoming Iowa's fifth Big Ten scoring champion in school history, averaging 19.9 points per game. For half the season, Jok started alongside four freshmen – Iowa's youngest starting lineup in school history. Undaunted, McCaffery and the Hawkeyes progressed as the season went on ultimately winning four games against nationally ranked teams, including No. 21 Wisconsin and No. 24 Maryland on the road.
In addition to leading the Big Ten in scoring, Jok established new school free throw records in single-game makes (22), career percentage (.864), and single-season accuracy (.911). Freshman Cordell Pemsl broke the school's single-season field goal percentage mark (.617), while rookie Jordan Bohannon rewrote the Iowa freshman record books in assists (175), 3-pointers (89), and double-doubles in points and assists (3).
This past season a trio of underclassmen led the Hawkeyes in sophomores Tyler Cook and Bohannon, and freshman Luka Garza. Cook joined Greg Stokes as the only Hawkeyes to total more than 500 points and 200 rebounds their sophomore season, while newcomer Luka Garza became just the fourth Hawkeye rookie in program history to score 400 points. Bohannon became the sixth Hawkeye in program history to total more than 400 points and 150 assists in a season and is the only Division I player to total more than 150 assists and 80 3-pointers as a freshman and sophomore over the last 25 years.
In 2016, McCaffery coached an Iowa team to heights that had not been seen in Iowa City in decades. The Hawkeyes were ranked nationally the final 12 weeks of the season, including ascending as high as No. 3 – its highest ranking since 1987. Iowa won five games over AP Top-25 teams, which tied for the second most by a Hawkeye team over the last 20 seasons. The Hawkeyes recorded back-to-back 12-win seasons in Big Ten play for just the third time in school history (1981-82 and 1987-88) and won an NCAA Tournament game in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1996-97. Additionally, Iowa swept Michigan, Purdue, and Michigan State (6-0) for the first time since 1954.
Individually, Uthoff joined a prestigious list of Hawkeye greats. The forward became just the fifth consensus All-American in program history and the first since 1952. He also was named the Men's Basketball Division I Academic All-American of the Year. Uthoff became the first Iowa men's basketball player to ever be named a consensus and Academic All-American of the Year. Jok's game erupted, boasting the best points per game increase in the Big Ten from 2015 to 2016. Jok garnered second team all-conference honors as a junior.
In 2015, Iowa's seven true road victories were the most by a Hawkeye team since 1987. And in the NCAA Tournament, McCaffery and the Hawkeyes posted the largest margin of victory ever in a 7/10 match-up, beating 10th-seeded Davidson, 83-52, in the second round. The 31-point win was the largest by any Hawkeye team in a postseason game.
McCaffery and the Hawkeyes have made Carver-Hawkeye Arena one of the most feared arenas to play in nationally. Fans have embraced McCaffery and his team's style of play, with attendance increasing by more than 50 percent since 2010. Iowa sold out a combined 25 games the last four seasons, including 11 in 2014. The Hawkeyes continue to feed off the energy in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, winning 87 home games between 2011-17. Iowa won a school-record 18 home contests in 2013.
The positive steps McCaffery has taken the Iowa men's basketball program in eight seasons are par-for-the-course for a coach who has demonstrated his ability to rebuild programs. McCaffery is one of just 12 Division I head coaches to take four different programs to the NCAA Tournament.
McCaffery continues to create interest with recruits on a national level due to his tireless work ethic. McCaffery's is a proven recruiter, demonstrated by signing the 25th-best recruiting class in the country prior to the 2013 season. His 2017, and 2018 recruiting classes include talented players from across the country, including Luka Garza (Washington, D.C.), Joe Wieskamp (Iowa), and C.J. Fredrick (Kentucky) -- each earning Player of the Year honors.
Under McCaffery's direction, Iowa won 20 or more games four straight seasons (2013-16), the program's longest streak in 15 years. The Hawkeyes accumulated 25 victories in 2013, which equal the second-most win total in school history, 20 in 2014, 22 in 2015, 22 in 2016, and 19 in 2017.
McCaffery's up-tempo style of play is a favorite among his players. In 2014, Iowa averaged 81.5 points per game, a scoring output that was tops in the Big Ten and 10th nationally. The 81.5 average was the highest by an Iowa team since 1995 (83.6 ppg) and the second-highest by a McCaffery-coached team (Lehigh's 1988 squad average 82.0 ppg). In 2016, Uthoff and Jok combined to average 35 points per game, Iowa's third-highest scoring duo the last 40 seasons. In 2017, Iowa led the Big Ten in both scoring (80.5) and steals (7.4), and broke the school single-season records in assists (602) and 3-pointers made (300), and single-game benchmark for triples made (18).
McCaffery has posted 10 seasons of 20 wins or more as a head coach, including eight in the last 12 years. McCaffery, who won his 300th career game as a head coach on March 9, 2013, against Nebraska, has served as head coach at four institutions: Iowa, Siena, UNC-Greensboro and Lehigh. The four teams had a combined record of 35-84 (.204) the season prior to his arrival. By year three, they had a total record of 89-45 (.664).
McCaffery, 58, came to Iowa after five successful seasons at Siena.
McCaffery's five years at Siena were the best in its 70-year history. He led the Saints on an incredible run that ended with three straight conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances. In so doing, Siena became the only program in the country to win its regular season and postseason title 2008-10.
McCaffery's Saints owned a 112-51 record in his five years with the program. After orchestrating the fifth greatest turnaround in Division I play his first year, McCaffery led Siena to a 20-win season and a MAAC Championship game appearance in his second. In 2007-08, Siena took its biggest step forward under his direction, earning the MAAC regular-season and tournament championship, as well as an NCAA Tournament first-round win over Vanderbilt. In 2008-09, the Siena program enjoyed unprecedented success. Siena won the regular-season title by equaling a program record with 27 wins before capturing the tournament crown. The Saints went on to defeat Ohio State in double overtime in one of the tournament's most exciting games.
In 2010, McCaffery led Siena to its fourth straight 20-win season, something never before achieved in program history. Siena ran away with the league title, clinching the No. 1 seed in the tournament and ultimately knocking off Fairfield in the MAAC title game.
The 2009 MAAC Coach of the Year is the third-winningest coach, by percentage, in league history (68-22, .756). He is the only coach to guide a MAAC program to two NCAA Tournament wins.
The 2008 season will also go down as one of the most memorable in Siena basketball history. McCaffery became just the 31st coach to take three different programs to the "Big Dance", and he was the first to do so with three programs from one-bid leagues (conference's that sent just one team the year his program advanced). Siena pounded Rider in the MAAC title game on its home floor to earn the MAAC's automatic bid. Less than two weeks later, McCaffery put together the perfect game plan and Siena led from start-to-finish in a triumph over Vanderbilt. Many considered the victory the greatest in school history, challenged at the time only by the program's 1989 upset of Stanford in the NCAA first round.
Siena won 20 games in McCaffery's second season (2007) and tied for third place in the MAAC with a 12-6 finish. McCaffery's Saints were the highest scoring team in the league, and they peaked at the right time, winning seven of their last eight regular-season games and advancing to play for the league championship.
McCaffery's first recruit - senior Kenny Hasbrouck - graduated as the most important player in program history. He was named MAAC Rookie of the Year as a freshman, MAAC second team and All-Tournament team as a sophomore, collegeinsider.com Mid Major Player of the Year, MAAC first team and MAAC Tournament MVP as a junior and MAAC Player of the Year, MAAC Tournament MVP, NABC All-District and MAAC first team as a senior.
His second class is widely regarded as the best in program history. Edwin Ubiles, Alex Franklin, and Ronald Moore finished their four-year careers with a 97-38 (.719) overall record, three MAAC Championships in four title game appearances, three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and two NCAA Tournament first round victories. Ubiles was a two-time MAAC first team, NABC All District first team and MAAC Tournament team selection and the 2007 MAAC co-Rookie of the Year. Franklin, a two-time NABC All District selection, earned 2008 and 2009 MAAC second team and MAAC Tournament team honors. He won the 2010 MAAC Player of the Year award (Siena's second straight) and the 2010 MAAC Tournament MVP. Moore, the pulse of the team, earned 2009 MAAC second team and 2010 MAAC first team honors as well as a spot on the 2010 MAAC Tournament team. He became the MAAC's all-time assists leader in the 2010 MAAC Championship game.
In total, four Saints were named to either the first or second All-MAAC team in 2009, newcomer Kyle Downey was an All-Rookie selection and Clarence Jackson was named MAAC Sixth Man of the Year.
McCaffery was introduced as Siena's 14th head men's basketball coach on April 1, 2005.
McCaffery took over at Siena from UNC-Greensboro, where he posted a 90-87 record in six seasons. In his first year at the helm, Greensboro placed third in the North Division. He guided the Spartans to the 18th-best improved record among NCAA Division I teams.
In McCaffery's second season, he guided the Spartans to unprecedented heights with a 19-12 record and the 2001 SoCon Tournament Championship. The Spartans defeated Chattanooga in the finals and received the SoCon's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The following year (2001-02) McCaffery led the Spartans to their first 20-win season since joining the conference. It marked the first time the program claimed a share of the SoCon North Division title as well. After falling to eventual tournament champion Davidson in the conference tournament semifinals, the Spartans were awarded a berth into the 2002 NIT.
In his final year in Greensboro, McCaffery brought the Spartans to the brink of the NCAA Tournament before a SoCon Championship game loss to Chattanooga. He led UNCG to a victory over Davidson in the semifinals, defeating a team that had been 16-0 in conference play. A big part of that success was SoCon Freshman of the Year Kyle Hines.
McCaffery spent the 11 years prior to his arrival at Greensboro at Notre Dame as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, working on the staffs of Richard "Digger" Phelps and John MacLeod.
Among the players he recruited to play for Notre Dame were Pat Garrity, Academic All-American of the Year in 1998, and Troy Murphy, the Big East Player of the Year in 2000 and an eventual first-round NBA draft pick. Garrity was also a first-round NBA draft pick and the Big East Player of the Year in 1997. In addition to Murphy and Garrity, McCaffery was involved in recruiting NBA First Round picks LaPhonso Ellis (1992 Draft, #5 Denver), Monty Williams (1994 Draft, #24 New York) and Ryan Humphrey (2002 Draft, #19-Utah Jazz).
He helped the Irish to NCAA Tournament appearances in 1989 and 1990. Notre Dame reached the NIT finals in 1992 and advanced to the quarterfinals in 1997.
At 26, McCaffery was the nation's youngest Division I head coach when he was hired on Sept. 11, 1985, at Lehigh. McCaffery capped his three-year tenure with the Engineers with a 21-win season and an NCAA berth in 1988.
In three seasons as head coach at Lehigh, he compiled a 49-39 overall record and guided the team to the NCAA Tournament in 1988. At the time he was the youngest head coach to reach the NCAA Tournament. His Lehigh teams had two winning seasons in three years and the 1987-88 squad's 21-10 record remains the best in program history. Lehigh had just four winning seasons in the 55 years prior to his arrival.
McCaffery was assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Lehigh from 1983-85 and helped the team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1985. As recruiting coordinator, he helped sign Darren Queenan, who remains Lehigh's all-time leading scorer. Queenan was second in the nation in scoring in 1988.
McCaffery was assistant varsity coach and head sub-varsity coach at his alma mater, Pennsylvania, during the 1982-83 season. At Penn, he worked for Craig Littlepage, who is now the director of athletics at the University of Virginia.
McCaffery lettered three years as point guard on the men's basketball team at Pennsylvania as one of the first transfers to play for the Quakers. He earned a bachelor's degree from The Wharton School of Finance and Commerce in 1982. In 1985 he received his master's degree in education from Lehigh.
In three seasons as a player he helped lead Penn to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and Ivy League titles and one berth in the NIT. As a senior in 1981-82 he led the Ivy League in steals and assists and was voted the team's Most Inspirational Player.
Recruited as the successor at point guard to Skip Brown at Wake Forest, McCaffery played one season at Wake Forest, 1977-78, helping the Demon Deacons to a 19-10 record. Nicknamed "White Magic," he started 11 of 28 games as coach Carl Tacy's team finished runner-up in the ACC Tournament to eventual NCAA runner-up Duke. Wake defeated North Carolina twice in three meetings and won five of the eight games it played at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The McCaffery's have been a champion for Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society (ACS). The McCaffery's have been actively involved with the Coaches vs. Cancer program and have raised significant funds to support ACS efforts, including more than $2 million since becoming Iowa's head coach in 2010. His efforts were honored during the 2015 Final Four weekend, as McCaffery was honored with the Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award. The distinction is awarded annually to a college coach who has been engaged vigorously in the Coaches vs. Cancer program's fundraising, education and promotional initiatives and has demonstrated leadership in the fight to save more lives from cancer. The ACS awarded the McCaffery's with the Fighting Spirit Award in 2015.
In addition to their work with the American Cancer Society and Coaches vs. Cancer, the McCaffery's help spearhead the launch of a new Adolescents and Young Adult Cancer Center in Iowa City.
McCaffery, a Philadelphia native who attended LaSalle High School, and his wife Margaret have four children: sons, Connor, Patrick and Jonathan and a daughter, Marit.