Is Fran McCaffery Taking the Ricky Stanzi Approach to Recruiting?

B.Senior Analyst IApril 13, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 05:  Ricky Stanzi #12 of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates after their 24-14 win against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the FedEx Orange Bowl at Land Shark Stadium on January 5, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Fran McCaffery hasn't been the men's head basketball coach at Iowa long, but that hasn't stopped the drama and stress from heading his way.

In his first few weeks on the job, he hired a new assistant coach, released statements about two recruits de-committing, and announced that the starting forward was opting to transfer. Some might label these things ordinary for the Iowa basketball program.  

Welcome to Iowa, Fran McCaffery!

Things started on a good note for the Hawkeye hoops coach, as he named his former Siena assistant Andrew Francis as the new assistant coach at Iowa. 

"I am very happy to have Andrew be part of the Hawkeye basketball family," announced McCaffery. "I've worked closely with Andrew for three years and he is the complete package. He's a tremendous coach and excellent recruiter."

The new hire excitement didn't last long, as the following day a pair of player defections was announced.

First came an announcement about incoming recruit Cody Larson, a 6'9" forward from Sioux Falls, SD. Larson, a highly-touted athlete, and arguably the top incoming recruit for Iowa, asked to be released from his National Letter of Intent.  

"Cody Larson has asked for a release from his National Letter of Intent but still has great interest in the University of Iowa," McCaffery explained in his statement. "Cody would like additional time to familiarize himself with myself and the new coaching staff."

Not long after that, McCaffery announced that Iowa sophomore Aaron Fuller had decided to transfer to another school closer to his family in Arizona. The transfer had been rumored on Hawkeye message boards for months, and finally came to fruition.

"Aaron Fuller has asked and been granted a release from his scholarship. Aaron expressed his desire to move closer to home and his family," McCaffrey said. "We support Aaron on his decision and wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors."

As if Fuller and Larson heading elsewhere wasn't enough, another recruit opted to ask for a release from his letter of intent. Incoming guard Ben Brust de-committed from Iowa to open up his recruitment. 

Some Hawkeye basketball fans are freaking out, wondering if there is a curse on the program. Others are more optimistic and point out that it might be a good thing to have players leave at the beginning of the head coaching change, rather than year after year of defections.  

As Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi would say, "If you don't love it, leave it."  

Wait, is McCaffery taking recruiting advice from Stanzi?

Since the 2010 Orange Bowl, Stanzi has become a viral video sensation. It was his response to a question after that game that caused the Stanzi fanbase to increase exponentially over the last few months.

"There's nothing better than being American. I mean, this is the greatest feeling. If you don't love it, leave it. USA, No. 1!," he said.

With that homage to the movie Talladega Nights, the legend of Ricky "Americanzi" was born.  

Maybe Americanzi's philosophy has inspired McCaffery in dealing with former head coach Todd Lickliter's incoming recruits.

If you don't love him, leave him; Franzi, No. 1!