People tuning into NCAA Tournament second-round action Sunday, be prepared for the histrionics of Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery. He has long been known in Big Ten circles, and in MAAC circles as the Siena coach before, for letting officials have it.
Earlier this season, the Big Ten Conference felt he went too far. He was suspended for 2 games following a post-game tirade made at referee Steve McJunkins after a 90-70 loss to Ohio State. The initial report which led to the suspension was made by Kyle Rowland of the Toledo Blade.
WARNING: The Following Tweet Has Strong Language. NSFW.
Iowa announced the suspension the following Wednesday, and athletic director Gary Barta confirmed the announcement at that day’s media availability. McCaffery missed the Hawkeyes’ losses to Rutgers and Wisconsin. He returned for a double-digit Big Ten Tournament defeat to Michigan.
A school release said the Big Ten supported Iowa’s decision and that University of Iowa would also be fined $10,000 as a result of McCaffery violating the league’s sportsmanship policy.
In the release, Barta said, “Following the basketball game at Ohio State, Coach McCaffery made unacceptable comments to a game official in the hallway headed to the locker room. Fran’s comments do not represent the values of the University of Iowa, Hawkeye Athletics, and our men’s basketball program.”
“Fran immediately accepted responsibility for his comments and understands the severe implications of his remarks. Fran fully understands this suspension and penalty imposed by the Big Ten Conference. Fran continues to have my full support moving forward.”
McCaffery said in the release, ““I am in total agreement with the suspension by Iowa Athletics and the fine levied by the Big Ten Conference. My comments directed toward a game official were regretful. I apologize to Big Ten Conference officials, Iowa Athletics, my players and staff, and the tremendous Hawkeye fans. This behavior is not acceptable and I take full responsibility for my inappropriate comments.”
McCaffery’s Previous Suspensions and Tirades
This is not the first time McCaffery has missed time or been ejected for an angry reaction at an official while at Iowa.
He was docked a game in January 2014 following an ejection on the road against Wisconsin in which he received consecutive technical fouls and chest-bumping an official. Iowa was fined $10,000 by the Big Ten Conference on that occasion as well, according to Andy Katz.
In 2011, McCaffery was ejected late in a blowout loss at Northern Iowa. The next year, he slammed a chair to the court during a game at Michigan State.
During his time at Siena, he AND his wife were ejected, per ESPN’s Myron Medcalf.
“Both Fran McCaffery AND his wife were ejected from a game in 2006,” Medcalf tweeted. “A few years ago, he got tossed from a game at Wisconsin with minutes to play. His team was winning. Lost after his ejection. This is what he does.”
No. 10 seed Iowa plays No. 2 Tennessee for a chance at the Sweet 16 (12:10 p.m. EST, CBS).