Fran McCaffery Hires an Army of Experienced Coaches at Iowa

B.Senior Analyst IMay 14, 2010

SPOKANE, WA - MARCH 19:  Head coach Fran McCaffery of the Siena Saints argues a call with the ref in a 72-64 loss against the Purdue Boilermakers during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Spokane Arena on March 19, 2010 in Spokane, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

As Gary Vaynerchuk would say, Fran McCaffery is about to crush it as head coach at Iowa.

Vaynerchuk is a self-proclaimed "online marketing trailblazer" who made a name for himself through social media and good business. Using his video blog, he became a world-renowned wine expert who revolutionized the wine and social media industries.

The New York Jets fan recently wrote a book titled, CRUSH IT! Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In On Your Passion . In the book, he shows people how to find their passion and to turn it into a thriving business.

Vaynerchuk may have slipped McCaffery a copy of that book as he was leaving New York to take over as head coach for the Hawkeyes.  

McCaffery found his passion as a basketball coach a long time ago, but he seems to have kicked that passion into overdrive since taking over responsibilities at Iowa. The chance to turn a down basketball program into a thriving success again was all the motivation he needed.  

In his first month and a half in Iowa City, McCaffery has assembled an all-star staff of experienced coaches.  

He first brought in his assistant coach from Siena, Andrew Francis, who is known for his recruiting instincts and his ability to connect with players.

After Francis, he brought on former Hawkeye Kirk Speraw. Speraw, a former student-athlete under Lute Olson, brings a ton of coaching experience and Iowa AAU basketball connections with him.

After Speraw, he hired former Hawkeye and NBA star Ryan Bowen as the team's video coordinator and administrative assistant. For Bowen, the Iowa job is the perfect opportunity to begin a new life after a 10-year NBA career.

Most recently, McCaffery hired another assistant coach with a plethora of coaching experience, Sherman Dillard .  

Dillard has more than 25 years of college coaching experience and has a long-standing relationship with the new Iowa head coach. Dillard spent the past six years working as a basketball marketing representative for Nike and served as global camp director responsible for activities that included the Nike All-America Camp.

Combined, Dillard and Speraw have 27 years of experience as head coach. Add that to McCaffery's 14 years, and Iowa ends up with over 41 years of coaching experience on the bench.

Pat Harty of the Iowa City Press Citizen puts that into perspective .  

"To put that in perspective, none of Wisconsin's three assistants have been Division I coaches. Michigan State only has one assistant with Division I head coaching experience, with Mike Garland having spent three seasons as the coach at Cleveland State. Former Iowa coach Todd Lickliter also had three assistant coaches with no Division I coaching experience."

Hiring former head coaches to be on his staff is not a new technique for McCaffery.  

At Siena, he brought on Mitch Buonaguro as an assistant.  Buonaguro has over 30 years of experience and took over as head coach at Siena after Fran's departure.

Even with experience on their side, McCaffery's coaching army has an uphill battle ahead of them. They have to rebuild a team that finished 10-22 last season, lost one of it's top players in Aaron Fuller and lost two incoming recruits in Cody Larson and Ben Brust.

The harsh realities aside, early indications suggest McCaffery is well on his way to crushing it at Iowa.

Vaynerchuk would be proud.