Whom Will McCaffery Hire?

April 7, 2010

Written by Jon Miller

Fran McCaffery was hired as Iowa’s 22nd head coach more than a week ago, and the attention is now focused on whom he will hire to fill his assistant coaching positions.

Here is the latest we are hearing here at Hawkeyenation.com

Mitch Buonaguro, Assistant Coach at Siena:  Mitch is definitly someone that McCaffery wants to bring with him to Iowa, but all signs are pointing to him taking over the Sienna job.  He’s had a second interview with the university, the players have really gone to bat for him and there have even been a few student movements to retain the longtime basketball man.  There is good reason for that; he served as an assistant to Rollie Massimino at Villanova and again at Cleveland State and he certainly knows his way around the eastern seaboard as it relates to recruiting.  If he doesn’t get the job at Siena, I think he’ll come to Iowa City…but I think he’ll become Siena’s next head coach.

Andrew Francis, Assistant Coach Siena:  It sounds as though Francis is going to occupy one of the assistant positions at Iowa, and he’ll join McCaffery again as he did in Siena.  He served as a administrative assistant at Villanova under Jay Wright.  He is a native of Brooklyn and played collegiality in New York as well.  Here is an article related to a Siena commit, forward Melsahn Basabe, who may have interest in joining McCaffery, and likely Francis, at Iowa.    This snippet from the article:

Asked if the staff wants him to follow them to Iowa and if he is considering that possibility, Basabe replied, “Yes, I have the option to go to Iowa and that is something I am seriously considering.”

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Rodell Davis, Assistant Coach Providence:  Davis has been an assistant to Keno Davis for three years; one at Drake and two at Providence.  He played for Iowa in the late 80’s and early 90’s; he suffered an injury early in his career. He went to high school in Chicago (Thornton) and also was a head coach at Proviso East and Thornwood, both schools in the Chicago area.  He has solid recruiting ties to that city and it sounds like he would love to return to his alma mater and get back to the Midwest.

Kirk Speraw: Speraw was recently fired at the University of Central Florida where he had severed as their head coach since 1993.  His teams qualified for four NCAA tournaments, all as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference; UCF made the move to Conference USA in 2005.  He is a native of Sioux City and he played for Lute Olson at Iowa and was a member of the last Iowa team to win a regular season conference title in 1979.

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Chad Walthall: Walthall served as an assistant coach to Todd Lickliter at Iowa the past three seasons.  Walthall was the primary recruiter for six of Iowa’s last seven signed recruits.  McCaffery said in this article that Walthall is under consideration, along with others.

Coach McCaffery has also said that he hopes to add a former Iowa player to his staff.  I am not sure if that will be as a full time assistant or as a graduate assistant.  There are number of former players interested in the job, or at least interested in learning more.  Jeff Horner might make a lot of sense as he is a coach right now and coaching is what he wants to do for the rest of his life.

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I know some may dismiss Horner because of his age and lack of experience, but he is the consummate gym rat, the son of an Iowa high school basketball hall of fame coach and one of the best Iowa high school basketball players of all time in his own right.  Horner is also one of the best Iowa basketball players of the last two decades, and to be frank, kids that are 16, 17 and 18 years old today in the state of Iowa and in the Big Ten footprint would recognize Horner’s name more than any of the other former Iowa players whose names are being bandied about for a position.  Perhaps Horner could come on as a graduate assistant or a similar role.

McCaffery has been in Indianapolis this past weekend and he reportedly met with former Iowa coaches Lute Olson and George Raveling to pick their brains on how to best succeed at Iowa.  McCaffery intends to meet with former Hawkeye head coach Tom Davis as well.

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