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Fran “White Magic” McCaffery to be named Iowa basketball head coach

Posted by RichieZ23 on March 28, 2010

Before today I had never heard of a basketball coach named Fran.  Then this morning, not only had I never heard of a coach named Fran, but I learned he is going to be hired as the head basketball coach at the University of Iowa.

You kidding me?  Who?  Fran McCaffery?  It gets better too.  His wife Margarete has been ejected from games along with her husband for arguing with officials.


So we got a dude named Fran and his wife gets ejected from games for yelling in the crowd.  Sweet.

I was about ready to sever all emotional ties and investment from Iowa basketball and jump off a building before I learned that his nickname was “White Magic” back during his days ballin’ in college playing the point at Wake Forest and Penn.

Fran McCaffery will be named the head coach of Iowa basketball on Monday(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)

That’s more like it.  I can put up with the fact that his name is Fran, his wife gets ejected from the stands, and he looks like a science teacher — I’ll put up with that if the dude’s nickname was White Magic.

I’ll take White Magic for a coach’s nickname all day.  Now he just needs to bring a little of that magic to Iowa basketball — a program that has been magic-less for quite some time.  Iowa has not won an NCAA Tournament game since 2001 when it defeated Creighton in the first round, only to get worked by Kentucky 92-79 in the second round.  Mr. Magic has won two in the last three years while at Siena.

Who Is He?

McCaffery coached at Siena the last five seasons, including NCAA Tournament appearances in three consecutive seasons, including first round victories over No. 4 Vanderbilt in 2008, and Ohio State in 2009.  He posted a 112-51 record during his five seasons at Siena.  Before arriving at Siena, he was at UNC Greensboro, an assistant at Notre Dame, and head coach at Lehigh.

While I’m sure we’ll learn more about the coach tomorrow during the the University’s official press conference, from doing some research, I’m starting to really like this hiring.

  • He likes to run a high-tempo offense.  (Siena scored 75+ in 16 games this season, whereas Iowa scored 75+ a mere three times)
  • He runs a pressure oriented defense, including a 1-3-1 full-court trap.
  • His offense is a version of a motion and 2-3 high offense, using perimeter ball reversal and staggered screens to open up the mid-range and free up backdoor cutters.  The three-point game does not seem to be heavily involved however.

    McCaffery will bring an up-tempo and high scoring game to Iowa fans

His recruiting is supposedly a strength as well.  From the Siena athletics website:

“McCaffery has orchestrated the turnaround with stellar recruiting and bold vision. His 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 last season.

His second class (first full class) is widely regarded as one of the best in program history. Led by senior standout Edwin Ubiles, a two-time MAAC First Team, NABC All District and MAAC Tournament Team selection and the 2007 MAAC co-Rookie of the Year, the class is on pace to graduate as the winningest in program history. Alex Franklin, a 2008 and 2009 Second Team All-MAAC and MAAC Tournament Team pick and starting point guard Ronald Moore, a 2009 MAAC Second Team selection and the pulse of the team complete the decorated Class of 2010.”

We’re pretty much getting the Anti-Lickliter.  I will give Lickliter the benefit of the doubt and say that if he actually had kids stay with him instead of transferring, Iowa would have been much better.  But that’s still on the head coach.  Having a coach you want to play for, and a fun team to play with is on Lickliter, and could have been a large factor in several Iowa players transferring to other schools, regardless of what their “official” reasons were.

It is also worth noting that McMagic maintains a 100% graduation rate for players completing their NCAA eligibility, something that is an important part of UI athletics.

It will also be a huge boost to UI basketball that he will bring in several ties and connections with East coast recruiting, a region that Iowa has not exactly been mining on.

I originally was skeptical of the decision simply because I had never heard of him, and his name is Fran White Magic, but after learning a little bit more about Fran McCaffery, I can say that I like the hire, and I’m excited about Iowa basketball going forward.  A young team with enough talent to compete and eager to get the taste out of their mouth after the worst season in Iowa history is a decent scenario for McCaffery to be coming into.

We will hopefully learn a lot more tomorrow at the press conference, but McCaffery has my support going forward.


5 Responses to “Fran “White Magic” McCaffery to be named Iowa basketball head coach”

  1. Josh Q said

    Ok, you’re right. I’m excited about this guy. Mostly because I have been waiting for us to press on defense. The big ten is all about power basketball and big men. If we can press and create easy turnovers, we can keep the ball out of the hands of the talented bigs. Look at Evan Turner. He had 9 TO’s in a tourney game. If we can cut the heads off of these offenses (pg), we could be more successful.

    My only concern is that it is easier to recruit talent to stay in NY, especially when you can grab overlooked kids from NYC. I need to know he can recruit in Iowa, which doesn’t have the same draw. For that reason, until I see him coach, my preference is for Ben Jacobsen. I want to make sure he can recruit for a big program as well.

  2. RichieZ23 said

    Even if we dont get a true big, at least we’re running. With Lick, we didnt even have a true big, yet we chose to play a slow it down, defensive oriented gameplan. I think Lick is a good coach, but you have to adjust. That being said I still want to get a true big man to defend the paint.

    He was a recruiting coordinator at ND so he knows the midwest. He almost snagged Jess Settles away from Iowa back in the day.

    I love the hire. Anyone who doesnt, is simply because they have never heard of him. Would I have taken other coaches as well? Most def, but he’s our guy now and I’m rollin’ with it 100%.

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