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Posts Tagged ‘Cully Payne.’

Iowa hires Fran McCaffery to replace Lickliter as men’s basketball coach

compiled from staff, wire reports and Iowa Hawkeyes athletics

The Iowa Hawkeyes have their man to head the men’s basketball program.  Athletic Director Gary Barta has convinced 50-year-old Fran McCaffery to leave the comforts of Mid-major Siena College to coach in the Big Ten Conference.

McCaffery went 112-51 in five seasons at Siena, leading the Saints to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Siena lost to Purdue in the first round of this year’s NCAA tournament and finished with a 27-7 mark.

McCaffery replaces Todd Lickliter, who was fired after Iowa went 10-22 this season. Once upon a time Iowa was one of the top programs in the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes went 38-58 under Lickliter while dropping to the bottom of the league.

Eventhough Iowa was starting to be on target for improvement in 2010-2011, Gary Barta let Coach Lickliter go right after the Big Ten tournament on March 15.  Barta cited several reasons: Bad recruiting, a losing record, sagging attendance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, dwindling revenue from ticket sales and contributions when he let Lickliter go. Also, the general concensus around Iowa City was Todd Lickliter was a good man and a good coach but he was “out of his league” coaching at Iowa and in the Big Ten.

Fran McCaffery Iowa Coach (Siena photo)

The Hawkeyes last made the NCAA tournament in 2006, losing to Northwestern State on a 3-point goal at the buzzer.  Then coach Steve Alford left for New Mexico following the 2007 season.  Alford in the meantime has built the Lobos into a dominant force in the Mountain West Conference, Iowa hasn’t had a winning season since he left. The feeling is that it is tough for any coach to recruit at Iowa. Plus other basketball programs in the state are more attractive to play at: Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa State in Ames and Northern Iowa, located in Cedar Falls, is now the kingpin in the state over Iowa.

With that in mind, Coach McCaffery’s first duties will be is to keep the current Hawkeyes key players around to rebuild the program. They include: Matt Gatens, Aaron Fuller, Eric May and Cully Payne.

Fran spent six years at North Carolina Greensboro, compiling a record of 90-87, before taking over at Siena College before the 2005-2006 season.  McCaffery also coached Lehigh  for 3 years, guiding it to the NCAA tournament in 1988, before leaving to become an assistant at Notre Dame.

McCaffery is a Philadelphia native and has taken three different teams to the NCAA tournament.  He played college basketball at Wake Forest and Pennsylvania.