With the Iowa basketball team’s huge win over #5 Michigan Friday night, Fran McCaffery entered a tie with Lute Olson for 2nd most wins in program history.
There has been a lot said about the worthiness of Iowa basketball head coach Fran McCaffery and whether he is the right guy for the job, and I do understand the frustration to an extent. Four seasons ago, the Iowa basketball team was on the cover of Sports Illustrated after two top-ten wins and another top-25 win in the span of four games. The Hawks had the look of a potential #1 seed, but then things fell apart down the stretch and the Hawks limped into the NCAA tournament as a 21-9 #7 seed.
Two games later, they were out of the tournament. Fast forward past the disappointing 2016-2017 and the 2017-2018 seasons to now, and the Iowa basketball team has not been back the tournament since. While that is almost certainly going to change this year (barring a colossal collapse), fan are obviously frustrated, especially after the Hawks blew two games last week to Michigan State and Minnesota.
Fans are beginning to question Fran McCaffery’s approach and whether he can lead this team to glory such as Tom Davis and Lute Olsen did in the 80’s and 90’s.
The tournament wins may not be there yet, but Fran is beginning to approach their level as we noted in an article last week. In Fridays’ win against Michigan, he moved into a tie with Lute Olson for overall wins in Iowa basketball history, which, no matter how you look at it, is an impressive feat. There is a caveat here though that there are multiple sources that have Lute Olsen’s overall wins anywhere between 165 to 168 wins whereas Fran’s win total is clearly at 168.
With nine more regular season games left on the schedule plus at least one Big Ten tournament game and likely at least one more NCAA tournament game, Fran has an opportunity to firmly secure his place in Iowa basketball history as the 2nd winningest head coach of all time. With the likelihood that he will continue coaching for at least a few more seasons (again, barring a huge collapse), he will be encroaching upon Tom Davis’ record for all-time wins at 269.
As of right now, Fran is just 101 wins away, which theoretically could be achievable in three seasons, but most certainly four, especially given the amount of talent that Fran has recruited to this program in the past few seasons and in the upcoming class of 2019.