Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery suspended two games for outburst at official; Andrew Francis and Kirk Speraw to assume duties

Zack Creglow
Hawk Central

Iowa men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery has been suspended for two games following Tuesday night's postgame tirade directed at an official. 

Iowa announced the suspension on Wednesday afternoon in a news release, shortly before athletic director Gary Barta was expected to appear in a media availability originally scheduled to discuss broadcaster Gary Dolphin's recent suspension.

The games for McCaffery's suspension are Saturday's home finale against Rutgers (4 p.m., Big Ten Network) and the March 7 road game at nationally-ranked Wisconsin (6 p.m., ESPN/2). 

Assistant Andrew Francis will serve as head coach for the Rutgers game and Kirk Speraw will serve as head coach for the Wisconsin game.

The release said the Big Ten Conference supported Iowa's decision and that the University of Iowa would also be fined $10,000 as a result of McCaffery violating the league's sportsmanship policy. Barta said the McCaffery will ultimately pay the fine. 

The Toledo Blade's Kyle Rowland and others observed McCaffery cursing at an official following Iowa's 90-70 defeat against Ohio State on Tuesday. McCaffery was heard repeatedly shouting expletives and calling the official a "cheating (expletive)" and a "(expletive) disgrace."

"I said what I said in the tunnel directly. I didn’t want that to be public," McCaffery said. "I said it directly to (the official). Somebody ended up hearing it. OK, that’s unfortunate. But that’s the reality. The intention was for it to be a private conversation."

In the release, Barta said: “Following the basketball game at Ohio State, coach McCaffery made unacceptable comments to a game official in the hallway headed to the locker room. Fran’s comments do not represent the values of the University of Iowa, Hawkeye Athletics, and our men’s basketball program.

“Fran immediately accepted responsibility for his comments and understands the severe implications of his remarks. Fran fully understands this suspension and penalty imposed by the Big Ten Conference. Fran continues to have my full support moving forward."

This is not the first time McCaffery has been suspended for an angry reaction at an official while at Iowa. He was docked a game in January 2014 following an ejection on the road against Wisconsin in which he received consecutive technical fouls and bumped on official. Iowa was fined $10,000 by the Big Ten Conference on that occasion as well. Assistant coach Kirk Speraw led the Hawkeyes in their next game at Northwestern.

In 2011, McCaffery was ejected late in a blowout loss at Northern Iowa. The next year, he slammed a chair to the court during a game at Michigan State.

Last season, McCaffery was ejected in a January game at Maryland after charging onto the court and berating officials.

"It’s human nature when you’re in a competitive environment. Our players aren’t always disciplined like we want them. None of us in this room are. I regret my actions, but I never regret fighting for them, and they know that," McCaffery said.