The basketball puzzle is starting to take shape for new Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery.
It was announced that McCaffery has named former Hawkeye Kirk Speraw as an assistant coach, a hire that became effective immediately.
Speraw is a two-time Hawkeye letterman who played for Head Coach Lute Olson in the late 1970s as part of a team that won a Big Ten title. He has over three decades of basketball coaching experience, both as an assistant and as head coach, and has coached dozens of players like former Hawkeyes Ronnie Lester and Bobby Hansen.
Recently, Speraw was fired after 17 seasons at Central Florida, where he was the most prolific coach in school history. The circumstances behind his firing are unclear, but they didn't seem to bother McCaffery:
“I’m excited and honored for the opportunity to return to the University of Iowa and reconnect with friends and fans of the Hawkeye basketball program,” said Speraw.
Both he and his wife are Iowa natives, and one of his daughters currently attends the University of Iowa.
McCaffery followed through on his word to hire a former Hawkeye to his staff.
"I'm ecstatic to have Kirk Speraw join our staff," said McCaffery. "I have known Kirk a long time and have tremendous respect for his knowledge, character and reputation. When I was at the Final Four, Lute Olson recommended him very highly, as has everyone else I have spoken to about him. Kirk is very well known and liked in the state of Iowa and it is great to have a Hawkeye on the staff."
Despite the defections of forward Aaron Fuller (and incoming recruits Cody Larson and Ben Burst) and having been on the job for less than a month, McCaffery continues to stride forward with the program.
In addition to Speraw, he has also named his former Siena assistant Andrew Francis as a new assistant coach last week. Francis is said to be an excellent recruiter who connects well with players.
Additionally, Melsahn Basabe— a 6'7" power forward from Southborough, Mass.— has been released from his letter of intent with Siena and has visited the Iowa campus.
Basabe was signed by McCaffery at Siena and is generally regarded as a top-125 player nationally. He would be a great addition to McCaffery's uptempo style and would mesh well with other incoming recruits Roy Marble, Jr. and Zach McCabe.
It seems McCaffery is already starting to feel at home in Iowa City .