Fran McCaffery given Coaches vs. Cancer award

Chad Leistikow
From left: Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery, American Cancer Society board chairman Robert Youle and Margaret McCaffery.

Fran McCaffery was honored this weekend at the Final Four for waging a battle he knows all too well.

The fifth-year Iowa basketball coach was presented Sunday with the Coaches vs. Cancer "Champion" award, given to a college coach who annually assists in fundraising and education in the fight against cancer.

In presenting the award, the American Cancer Society praised the work done by McCaffery and his wife, Margaret, particularly in the face of one of their son's cancerous tumor being diagnosed a year ago. Patrick McCaffery is now cancer-free, but his story was at the center of Iowa's NCAA Tournament appearance a year ago, one that spurred spontaneous fundraisers and T-shirt sales.

Cancer has packed a heavy punch in McCaffery's life. He lost both parents, Jack and Shirley, to colon cancer years ago.

Fran and Margaret continue to fight back.

"Together they pose a formidable force in the fight against cancer," American Cancer Society CEO John Seffrin said. "And we are grateful for their ongoing commitment to the Society's life-saving work."

Past recipients of this award, doled out to one coach each year since 1996, include Roy Williams, Jim Calhoun, Tom Izzo and Bo Ryan.