Schwartz: The Fran McCaffery Interview
David Schwartz: Thanks for making time for me.
Fran McCaffery: No problem, Dave. My brother’s a sportswriter. I have great respect for the profession.
DS: Ha – I’m not a full-time sportswriter anymore. I just write a little for Hawkeye Nation. But still, I appreciate the sentiment.
FM: Sure thing.
DS: Getting to the interview, what do you take away from the last couple of games? What’s happened to your team?
FM: I don’t follow.
DS: Well, it looked like you guys had really turned a corner at Michigan and then against Maryland. It’s the best stretch any Iowa team has played probably in years. But then Minnesota – well, they were playing well at the time, I guess – but Northwestern, especially, the team really seemed to take a step backward. As the coach, what happened?
FM: What do you mean what happened? We lost!
DS: Right, I know you lost. I’m asking if you can explain the ups and downs of this team.
FM: I’M SO SICK AND TIRED OF YOU GUYS ASKING THESE STUPID QUESTIONS!!!
DS: Fran, you’re the coach being asked logical questions about your team for a fan base that’s concerned the Hawkeyes are starting to spiral like they did last season. No one’s accusing them of committing federal crimes.
FM: OH YES YOU ARE! EVERYONE IS AGAINST US! IT’S US AGAINST THE WORLD DAMNIT AND THE ONLY WAY WE’RE GOING TO GET THROUGH IT IS IF I SCREAM AND ACT LIKE A MANIAC!!!
DS: Uh, coach, Michigan State has struggled this season, too. Tom Izzo faces the same questions. He usually just explains what happened and tries to put things into perspective. Maybe …
FM: PERSPECTIVE? YOUR PERSPECTIVE IS STUPID! EVERYBODY’S PERSPECTIVE IS STUPID! I’M NOT GOING TO CHANGE WHO I AM JUST BECAUSE THE SAME THING THAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR IS HAPPENING THIS YEAR!!!
(Gary Barta walks in)
GB: Hey, Fran, it’s getting kind of loud in here. What’s the problem, big guy?
FM: IT’S THE MEDIA, BARTA! THEY KEEP ASKING STUPID QUESTIONS!!!
GB: Well, yeah, they do that from time to time, but most of ‘em are all right. What did Schwartz ask you?
FM: HE WANTS TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED AGAINST NORTHWESTERN!!! WHAT HAPPENED? I’LL TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED!!!!!
GB: Whoa whoa whoa, Fran. Slow down. You’ve got to give fans and media what they want.
FM: YEAH, AND WHAT’S THAT?
GB: The exceptional graduation rate of our women’s and men’s tennis teams!
GB: It’s a can’t-miss. No matter how bad things get, people love excellent graduation rates.
DS: Gary, I think you might be overrating …
FM: THAT’S THE STUPIDEST FU …
(Kirk Ferentz walks in)
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GB: Kirk baby, how’s my even-keeled teddy bear?
KF: Good, Gary. Hi Fran.
FM: THEY’RE OUT TO GET US ALL, KIRK. THEY’RE OUT TO GET US ALL!!!
KF: Uh, yeah. Hey Gary, can I talk to you about something?
GB: Sure, Kirk, anything. Anything! You need a contract extension?
KF: No that’s OK. Well, look, I don’t know how to say this. I don’t want to make a stink, but there’s something that’s been bugging me for a while now.
GB: What is it, Kirk? Is the Hawkeye Cruise stopping at the wrong islands? Whatever it is Kirk, I’ll make up for it, I swear!
KF: No, it’s not the cruise. That’s fine. It’s, well … it’s the pencils in the supply cabinet. When I started in 1999 we had yellow #2 pencils, and I just noticed that we switched to black #2 pencils.
GB: And …
KF: That’s a change, Gary. I don’t like change. Why wasn’t I notified? We went undefeated in the Big Ten in 2002 with those pencils.
FM: THIS IS HOW IT STARTS, KIRK! FIRST IT’S THE PENCILS, THEN THEY WANT TO KNOW WHY YOUR CENTER KEEPS POKING PEOPLE IN THE EYE!!!!
GB: Oh, geez Kirk. I didn’t realize. I’m so sorry. I’ll get right on that.
(Lisa Bluder walks in)
LB: Hi, fellas! Who threw a party without inviting me?
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KF: It’s not a party, Lisa. We’re having a meeting.
LB: I know, Kirk. It was a joke. Besides, I don’t miss parties. My team hasn’t missed the Big Dance in almost a decade, right Fran?
FM: WAS IT YOU? WAS IT YOU? IT WAS YOU, WASN’T IT! YOU HACKED ZACH MCCABE’S TWITTER FEED I KNOW IT!!!
LB: No, Fran. Hey … is that David Schwartz? Don’t tell me you’re writing another story about men’s basketball when you haven’t written anything about us.
(Schwartz slinks in his chair in shame)
KF: So how was practice today, Lisa? You guys are really on a roll.
LB: Practice was great. The team all worked hard, although I had to yell at Dixon for hitting only 87 percent of her three-pointers (laughs).
GB: You yelled at a player?
LB: No, not really, Gary, I’m just kiddi…
GB: YOU’RE FIRED!!!!
LB: But …
GB: Women’s players are delicate. They can’t take criticism. Everyone knows that.
LB: What the hell kind of double standard is that? An athlete is an athlete, Barta. Or do I have to …
GB: Sorry, Bluder. Fired. Now pack up your things and get out.
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LB: But what will you tell my team? Our players?! We might be in line for a second or third seed in the Big Dance!
GB: Oh who cares. I’ll buy ’em all iPads.
FM: I KNEW IT! IT’S THE IPAD!! THEY’RE SPYING ON US THROUGH THE IPADS!!! EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!!
FM: THE REFS! THE MEDIA! THE STUDENT SECTION! EDWARD SNOWDEN! IT’S US AGAINST THE WORLD, I TELL YA! US AGAINST THE WORLD!!!
DS: It doesn’t have to be, you know. Sometimes you can just answer a question at face value.
FM: SAYS WHO?!
DS: Says me.
LB: You’re really firing me?
KF: Can we get back to the pencils?
GB: Oh screw your pencils, Ferentz. I’ve got bigger stuff on my plate.
KF: But we used the old pencils when Dallas Clark was here. Did you know he was a walk-on and that we developed him?
GB: Yesssssssss, Kirk. Good grief. Everyone knows that story. You tell it every day. You brought him here back when Clinton was president – get a new story already.
KF: But what could be more important than pencils?
GB: Have you seen our season-ticket prospects?
KF: No, I’ve been trying to fix the cassette player in my office since January.
GB: We may lose 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent of our season-ticket holders, and do you know what that means?
DS: That Sally Mason is going to haul you into her office and put you on notice?
GB: Hahahahaha. Are you kidding? As long as our cross country teams finish sixth or higher in the Big Ten, she doesn’t care what I do. Besides, she’s already shopping for a retirement condo in Maui.
DS: Then, what does it mean?
GB: It means when the season ends Kinnick’s gonna be stuck with 150,000 of the nastiest neglected hot dogs on God’s green earth. We pre-cooked ’em back in 2006 banking on eternal Kinnick sellouts.
KF: Just put them in the warmer until 2017 and 2018. People will eat them eventually.
GB: Great idea, Kirk. See, that’s why I have faith you’ll turn around our football program. Now, how about another extension.
LB: Oh for God’s sake.
GB: See, it’s that kind of swearing and abuse that can’t be tolerated around women’s athletes, Lisa.
FM: DAMN RIGHT BARTA!!! NOW GET ME 1,000 OF THOSE SHITTY HOT DOGS SO I CAN MAKE OGLESBY EAT ONE EVERY TIME HE PASSES UP AN OPEN SHOT!!!
- Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.