After last night’s profane meltdown, Iowa needs to mandate Fran McCaffery deal with his anger – Hawkeyes deserve better

Fran McCaffery is prone to bouts of explosive rage, and last night’s was profane and embarrassing.

Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery went off the rails – again – last night.

According to a report in the Toledo Blade, after Iowa’s 90-70 loss at Ohio State, McCaffery followed referee Steve McJunkins down a hallway and screamed,  “You cheating m—-rf—-r! You’re a f–k–g disgrace!”

Sadly, the disgrace is McCaffery.

I’ve always found McCaffery to be an interesting guy – a good coach whose abilities are overshadowed by his outrageous and red-faced hissy fits.  I’ve asked coaches who’ve known McCaffery for a long time about him, and he is almost universally liked and respected.

He recruits the hell out of Iowa, and wins Big 10 games with those kids.  That isn’t easy.  From a recruiting standpoint, Iowa is not exactly Indiana.

Over his almost nine seasons in Iowa City, McCaffery’s teams are 78-82 in the Big 10.  No disgrace in that at Iowa.  He’s a good coach.

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But given his incendiary behavior, I would never trust him to shepherd my son through the end of his adolescence into early adulthood.

Student-athletes deserve more than a guy who knows where to pout the Xs and Os on a dry erase board.  There should also be a mandate that a coach serve as a mentor for his players, and McCaffery is as likely to break a dry erase board as draw a play on one.

He berates players, officials, broadcasters, and official scorers with a troubling ire – the kind of ill-tempered ranting that is unacceptable in virtually every other profession.

Why coaches are rewarded for insanity while most others in society are fired is unexplainable.  Bosses who treat employees and officials as McCaffery does would rightly be led from their offices in shackles.

It’s absurd that an educator at a state university would be allowed to continue his reign of public belligerence and bellicosity without someone stepping up to help McCaffery deal with his anger disorder.

I’m not advocating McCaffery be fired, but it would be in the best interest of the university, student-athletes, and McCaffery himself if a round of treatment for anger management was required.

There is a time and place for anger and profanity.  I enjoy occasional dalliances with both, but as a relentlessly deployed indulgence, it’s bad management and an even worse example for his student-athletes.

It’s time for basketball coaches to behave like the managers who will one day employ student-athletes – most of whom will never play in the NBA.

That should start with one of college basketball’s most egregious offenders.

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta needs to risk incurring McCaffery’s wrath by demanding he curb his instinct to indulge in it.

Here is the announcement released this afternoon by the Big 10 in response to McCaffery’s tirade last night:

Big Ten Issues Public Reprimand of Iowa Men’s Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery and Announces Institutional Fine

ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten office issued a public reprimand of Iowa men’s basketball head coach Fran McCaffery for violating the Big Ten Sportsmanship Policy following Iowa’s game against Ohio State on Feb. 26. The Big Ten supports the University of Iowa’s suspension of Coach McCaffery announced on Wednesday. In addition, the conference announced that the institution has been fined $10,000 as a result of the violation.

The Big Ten determined that McCaffery’s postgame actions were in violation of Big Ten Conference Agreement 10.01, which states in part that “The Big Ten Conference expects all contests involving a member institution to be conducted without compromise to any fundamental element of sportsmanship. Such fundamental elements include integrity of the competition, civility toward all, and respect, particularly toward opponents and officials.”

The Big Ten Conference considers this matter concluded and will have no further comment.

Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at

4 thoughts on “After last night’s profane meltdown, Iowa needs to mandate Fran McCaffery deal with his anger – Hawkeyes deserve better

  1. Brent W McNiece

    I feel the same way about IZZO. He swears everytime the camera is on him. Izzo and Fran are fantastic at their coaching jobs, but I would rather have the Brad Stevens type of coach. I still like the Celtics. I wonder why right?

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      Izzo looks like the head of a Teamsters local who would punch you in the head for giving him a dirty look. McCaffery looks like a guy who would sneer at you for scratching his Lexus. I prefer Izzo!

      1. Brent McNiece

        Ha!! Bull in the China Shop.
        I loved the loveable Jud Heathcote and his ‘always in pain ‘ looks. A lot of his teams were so fun to watch.

        I guess my favorite will always be Scott Skiles tearing up Antoine Jobert. 43 points or something crazy.

        I didn’t like Dr. Tom Davis…….I am definitely with you on the Two. Izzo

        1. Kent Sterling Post author

          Dr. Tom complicated winning. I was not a fan either. Skiles was a favorite. It seems impossible, but what seemed like a couple of hours after a game Indiana played at Michigan State against Skiles, he was at one of our parties. Never got over to ask how the hell he got to us that quick.


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