Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Iowa's Love Affair with Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery

Iowa desperately wants a winner in men’s basketball. That’s really the only logical reason the Hawkeye faithful are in love with Coach Fran McCaffery at this point in his Iowa career.

Iowa announced a contact extension for the coach yesterday. McCaffery received seven years and could earn $1.86 million per season if he takes the Hawkeyes to the NCAA tournament. Regardless of the NCAA outcome, he will receive an overall raise.

Now, if you were out of Iowa and the country and returned to read the above paragraph, you would think McCaffery had turned the program into a sleeping giant. But the answer is really “no.”

Iowa and McCaffery are still selling hope. In McCaffrey’s first season, Iowa finished 11-20. Last year, the Hawkeyes earned a NIT bid and ended the year at 18-17. That’s a two-year total of 29-37. Not exactly sleeping giant material.

As I mentioned in this blog before, I was surprised when Iowa fans celebrated their team’s NIT bid and was buying the hope. That tells you how low the Iowa basketball program has been in recent years. The Hawkeyes haven’t been to the Big Dance (NCAA Tournament) since 2006.

McCaffery may go on to record great results at Iowa. But selling hope will only last so long. It must show up in the victory column where the true standard is measured.

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