Fran McCaffery

Fran McCaffery

Fran McCaffery
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Iowa
Record 79–65 (.549)
Biographical details
Born (1959-05-23) May 23, 1959
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
Playing career
1977–1982 Wake Forest, Penn
Position(s) Point guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Notre Dame (asst.)
UNC Greensboro
Head coaching record
Overall 330–242 (.577)
Accomplishments and honors
SoCon Tournament Championship (2001)
MAAC Tournament Championship (2008, 2009, 2010)
MAAC Regular Season Championship (2008, 2009, 2010)

Fran McCaffery (born May 23, 1959) is an American college basketball coach and the current men's basketball head coach at the University of Iowa. He has taken four Division I programs to postseason tournaments, including the Iowa Hawkeyes, who reached the finals of the 2013 National Invitation Tournament.

He previously served as head coach of Lehigh University, UNC Greensboro, and Siena. McCaffery played college basketball for one season at Wake Forest before transferring to Penn. In his playing days, he acquired the nickname of "White Magic".[1]

He began his college coaching career with a stint at Penn as an assistant coach. McCaffery became an assistant coach at Lehigh in 1983. He was the youngest head coach in Division I when he was promoted to head coach in 1985. Following his career at Lehigh, McCaffery spent 11 years as an assistant at Notre Dame. In 1999, he became the head coach of the UNC Greensboro Spartans. McCaffery had a 90–87 record through six seasons. He led the Spartans to the Southern Conference Championship and the NCAA Tournament in 2001.

At Siena he maintained a 100% graduation rate for players completing their NCAA eligibility.[2] He was introduced as the head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes on March 29, 2010.[3]

Head coaching career

Lehigh Mountain Hawks

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UNC Greensboro Spartans

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Siena Saints


In 2005, the Siena Saints were picked to finish last in preseason polls for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. However, McCaffery guided Siena to a 15–13 record. The team earned several memorable victories in the regular season, including an 82–74 win against cross-town rival Albany, and an 82–76 triumph at eventual MAAC champion Iona. The Saints clinched a first-round bye in the MAAC tournament with a 98–92 double-overtime victory over Niagara on the team's senior day. Siena's season ended with a 63–62 loss to St. Peter's in the MAAC quarterfinals.


McCaffery guided Siena to a 20–12 record in 2007. The Saints began the season with an 11-10 record. However, the team went on a late-season winning streak and won 9 of 10 games. Season highlights included a 76–75 double-overtime victory over rival Albany. Siena was one of the youngest teams in the conference with five underclassmen. The Saints reached the 2007 MAAC championship game and lost to Niagara 83–79.

McCaffery coached three consecutive rookies of the year in their respective leagues. Kyle Hines won the award in the Southern Conference in McCaffery's final year in UNC Greensboro. Kenny Hasbrouck captured the MAAC rookie of the year for the 2005–06 Saints, and Edwin Ubiles shared the award with Canisius' Frank Turner for the 2006–07 season.


On November 17, 2007, McCaffery guided Siena to a 79–67 victory over #20 ranked Stanford at the Times Union Center in Albany. The win was Siena's first over a ranked opponent since their first-round victory against the Cardinal in the 1989 NCAA tournament. Siena finished the regular season at 19–10 and 13–5. They tied with Rider for first place in the MAAC. The Saints defeated Manhattan, Loyola and Rider on their way to winning the MAAC championship and an automatic NCAA tournament bid. It was the Siena's fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament and their first under the guidance of McCaffery. In March 2008, the 13th seeded Saints soundly defeated #4 Vanderbilt 83–62 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in the Midwest Region. Siena's season ended one game short of the sweet sixteen in an 84–72 loss to 12th seeded Villanova. Siena finished the season at 23–11. It was the most wins for a Siena team since the 1999-2000 season.


Siena was ranked highly in preseason publications entering the 2008–09 season. The Saints convincingly won their first two games against Boise State and Cornell.McCaffery guided Siena to victories in 25 of their final 30 games. Siena won games against St. Joe's, Northern Iowa, Albany and Buffalo along the way. Siena's 16 MAAC wins tied a league record for regular season wins. Siena would go on to win the MAAC championship (and clinch a second straight NCAA tournament bid) by defeating Canisius, Fairfield and Niagara. McCaffery led the Saints to the most single season wins in their Division I history and earned the 2009 MAAC coach of the year.

In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Siena defeated Ohio State 74–72 in double overtime to reach the round of 32 for the second straight season. The Saints led #1 ranked Louisville 63–59 midway into the 2nd half before losing 79–72 to end their season at 27–8. Siena finished ranked 28th in the final ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, the school's highest ranking.


Siena entered the 2009–10 with the highest expectations in program history. After a slow start, the Saints won 15 straight games and 21 of 23 games to capture the school's third consecutive MAAC tournament championship, defeating Fairfield in overtime 72–65. Siena lost to Purdue 72–64 in the first round of the NCAA tournament to end their season at 27–7. McCaffery was also honored by the national coaches' association as an all-district coach.

Iowa Hawkeyes


Fran McCaffery talks with an Iowa student after his introduction as the new head basketball coach at The University of Iowa.
Fran McCaffery talks with an Iowa student after his introduction as the new head basketball coach at The University of Iowa.

McCaffery was hired by the University of Iowa on March 28, 2010 to replace Todd Lickliter. He was introduced during a press conference and a public ceremony in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on March 29, 2010.[4]

McCaffery lost his first game as head coach at Iowa on November 16, 2010, when the Hawkeyes lost to South Dakota State. His first conference win with the Hawkeyes came against Indiana in Iowa City on January 23. His first win versus a ranked team as the head coach of Iowa came on March 5, when Iowa defeated #6 Purdue 67-65. That win snapped a 25-game losing steak against ranked opponents for the Hawkeyes.


McCaffery led the Iowa Hawkeyes to 4 wins over ranked opponents - twice against Wisconsin, once against Michigan, and once against Indiana. The Hawkeyes won 3 conference road games in a season for the first time since 2006. For the second consecutive season, attendance increased at Iowa home basketball games.

Iowa beat Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. The Hawkeyes then lost to eventual tournament champion Michigan State. At 17-16, Iowa earned a bid to the NIT postseason tournament.[5] The Hawkeyes were seeded seventh in their region, but due to a scheduling conflict, they hosted the second seeded Dayton Flyers. Iowa won the contest 84-75, the first postseason win for Iowa since 2004. The NIT bid showed the enthusiasm building around the program, over 13,000 tickets were sold in under twenty-four hours.

During the offseason excitement built about the incoming recruiting class, one of the best in the conference. Iowa native and a member of the Wisconsin Badger Basketball team, Jarrod Uthoff transferred to Iowa. Also during the offseason, McCaffery signed a 7-year contract extension, worth $1.66 million per season.


Iowa finished the non-conference schedule with an 11-2 record. That included wins over instate rivals Iowa State and Northern Iowa. It was the best non-conference record since the 2004-2005 season, and the best by a McCaffery team at Iowa. Iowa finished the regular season with a 20-11 record including 9-9 in conference play, resulting in an NIT bid. Iowa ended up as the NIT runner-ups. McCaffery also picked up his 300th career win as a head coach on March 9 when Iowa beat Nebraska 74-60.


Iowa finished the non-conference season with a record of 11-2. The two non-conference losses were to Villanova (88-83 in overtime, in the Battle for Atlantic Title Game) and in-state rival Iowa State (85-83) McCaffery then lead his Hawkeyes to a Big Ten record of 9-9 with quality wins at #3 Ohio State (84-74) and at home versus Michigan (85-67). Iowa received the sixth seed in the Big Ten Tournament. After beating Northwestern two times during the regular season, Iowa lost to Northwestern (67-62) in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. On Selection Sunday, McCaffery's team was put as the 11th seed having to play a play-in game versus Tennessee. Fran's son was diagnosed with a thyroid tumor in his neck, which eventually became cancer towards the end of the regular season. McCaffery flew home from the play-in game for his son's surgery then flew back to Dayton, Ohio to coach his team to a heartbreaking loss (78-65). The Iowa Hawkeyes ended the season with record of 20-13.[6]


Before the season began, Fran McCaffery received a contract extension through the 2019-2020 season.[7] [8]

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Lehigh (East Coast Conference) (1985–1988)
1985–86 Lehigh 13–15 6–8 5th
1986–87 Lehigh 15–14 8–6 T–3rd
1987–88 Lehigh 21–10 8–6 T–4th NCAA First Round
Lehigh: 49–39 (.557) 22–20 (.524)
North Carolina Greensboro (Southern Conference) (1999–2005)
1999–00 UNCG 15–13 9–7 3rd (North)
2000–01 UNCG 19–12 10–6 2nd (North) NCAA First Round
2001–02 UNCG 20–11 11–5 T–1st (North) NIT First Round
2002–03 UNCG 7–22 3–13 6th (North)
2003–04 UNCG 11–17 7–9 T–3rd (North)
2004–05 UNCG 18–12 9–7 2nd (North)
UNCG: 90–87 (.508) 49–47 (.510)
Siena (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) (2005–2010)
2005–06 Siena 15–13 10–8 4th
2006–07 Siena 20–12 12–6 T–3rd
2007–08 Siena 23–11 13–5 T–1st NCAA Second Round
2008–09 Siena 27–8 16–2 1st NCAA Second Round
2009–10 Siena 27–7 17–1 1st NCAA First Round
Siena: 112–51 (.687) 68–22 (.756)
Iowa (Big Ten Conference) (2010–present)
2010–11 Iowa 11–20 4–14 10th
2011–12 Iowa 18–17 8–10 T–7th NIT Second Round
2012–13 Iowa 25–13 9–9 6th NIT Runner-up
2013–14 Iowa 20–13 9–9 6th NCAA Play-in
2014–15 Iowa 6-2 0–0
Iowa: 80–65 (.552) 30–42 (.417)
Total: 328–241 (.576)

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  • BCANY (Basketball Coaches Association of New York) Coach of the Year sponsored by New Balance for 2008–09 season.
  • 2001 Southern Conference Tournament Championship
  • 2008, 2009 and 2010 MAAC Tournament Championships
  • 2008, 2009 and 2010 MAAC Regular Season Championships
  • 2008 and 2009 NCAA tournament first round wins
  • 2013 NIT Runner-Up
  • 2014 NCAA Tournament


McCaffery and his wife Margaret have four children: Sons Connor, Patrick and Jonathan, and a daughter, Marit. McCaffery is actively involved with Coaches vs. Cancer in the Capital Region. The McCafferys are also involved with the Johnson County (Iowa City) Relay For Life. His brother Jack is a sports columnist for the Delaware County (Pa.) Daily Times.

McCaffery’s wife, Margaret, was a standout women’s basketball player from Saint Paul, Minnesota. She had an outstanding college career playing at The University of Notre Dame.

McCaffery's son, Patrick, was taken to the University of Iowa hospitals to get a thyroid tumor removed. After testing the tumor was found to be cancerous.

McCaffery's son, Connor, committed to play for his dad at Iowa,[9] becoming the first member of the 2017 class. He is considered by everyone to be a top 50 recruit in the country.[10]


  1. ^ SI's 2009 Top 20 Scouting Reports, Sports Illustrated, November 23, 2009.
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  3. ^ "Siena's McCaffery hired as Iowa basketball coach". March 28, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
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External links

  • Iowa profile
  • Siena profile