Dakich stands by Woodbury criticism (with a little humor)

Rick Brown

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Dan Dakich arrived at Carver-Hawkeye Arena with no fear but his sense of humor Saturday morning.

"I did wear my best suit in case I get shot," Dakich said. "If there are pictures, I want to look good."

The ESPN analyst, on hand to work the Iowa-Wisconsin basketball game, has been at the center of controversy after calling out Iowa center Adam Woodbury for a couple of eye-poking incidents the first time the two teams played 11 days ago in Madison, Wis.

Dakich described Woodbury's actions as cowardly and gutless, which drew the wrath of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, who said that Dakich had crossed the line with his comments. Hawkeye fans also attacked Dakich on Twitter.

"Fran's got to do that, and I understand that," Dakich said. "He's got to protect his guys. But I don't back down from what I said."

A security guard was assigned to sit behind Dakich Saturday to avoid any incidents.

"I don't think I called the kid (Woodbury) a coward," Dakich said. "I called the actions (cowardly). I think people get it wrong all the time."

Dakich left a voice mail for McCaffery on Wednesday after the coach blasted him on his radio show. But he had an old number. The two later communicated through text messages.

"He told me he considered it a done deal," Dakich said.

Dakich said this is the most negative reaction he's had to his on-air comments.

"I've been pretty harsh, but I don't think anyone in the Big Ten has complained," Dakich said. "Because most coaches and players understand and like the truth."

Dakich also pointed out that he defended Woodbury during a game against Michigan last season, when Iowa's center put his finger to his lips in a quieting gesture after a dunk. It was a response to some Woodbury critics who questioned whether the 7-foot-1 post player could dunk.

"I like that, because he's sticking it to his own people, because I know they were on him," Dakich said.

Dakich said criticism doesn't bother him, thanks in no small part to his 16 years as a player and assistant coach under Bob Knight at Indiana.

"I don't mind confrontation," Dakich said.