News broke yesterday that Iowa basketball assistant coach Andrew Francis would be departing the program. The announcement hit the Hawks hard.
Typically, when it comes to major programs, the arrival and departures of assistant coaches don’t spur nearly as much attention as the arrival and departure of head coaches. For the Iowa basketball program, however, it was a little different when news broke that Andrew Francis would be leaving the Hawks.
Francis has been with the Iowa basketball program since Fran took over nine years ago, and he has been an instrumental part in helping the Hawkeyes reach four NCAA Tournaments and one NIT Championship. He also served as Fran’s replacement head coach this season when Fran was suspended for saying a few inappropriate words to an official after the Ohio State game.
The Iowa basketball team lost their next two games, but that has less to do with Francis’ coaching abilities than it does the number of distractions that were hanging over the Hawk’s heads at that time.
The former professional basketball player and Brooklyn native also served under Fran McCaffery for three seasons at Siena.
It was pretty clear how well-respected Andrew Francis when there was an outpouring of support from players on Twitter.
What people don’t often realize is that Francis, along with the other assistants, has a huge role in determining practice structure, game plans, and reeling in recruits. A loss like this is nearly as detrimental to the Iowa basketball program as losing Reese Morgan is to the Iowa football team.
Moreover, as we have seen in the past, Fran McCaffery has a tendency to get a little heated at times. He no longer has one of us his trusted assistants he can count on in a time of need.
Andrew Francis’ departure is another in a growing list of people leaving the program after the Iowa basketball team advanced to the round of 32 this season. Star forward Tyler Cook is heading to the draft, Maishe Dailey is heading to Akron, and Joe Wieskamp is testing the NBA Draft waters (although he’s likely to come back).
Where Francis is heading is unknown at this point, but if I had to venture a guess, it would be to move closer to home either in an assistant role for a D-1 school or as a head coach dropping down to a mid-major or D-2 program.
This also opens up a spot on Fran’s staff for which there are a few viable candidates that could be interested. As more information is released, we will continue to provide our analysis of the coverage.