Assistant coach Andrew Francis leaving the Iowa men's basketball program

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Andrew Francis, a tireless recruiter and longtime assistant coach under Fran McCaffery, is leaving the Iowa men's basketball program, the Register has confirmed.

The University of Iowa, when contacted by the Register, verified Tuesday night that Francis would be leaving the program to take a coaching position elsewhere, but did not specify his new school.

Andrew Francis served as Iowa's fill-in head coach in a home loss to Rutgers this season when Fran McCaffery was suspended. He served for nine years as a Hawkeye assistant.

Two sources with knowledge of the move told the Register that California of the Pacific-12 Conference is the likely landing spot for Francis. The sources commented on the condition of anonymity, because the hiring wasn't yet finalized.

Francis would become a primary assistant coach under Mark Fox, who was hired in late March to replace fired Wyking Jones. Fox, 50, is a longtime successful Division I coach who compiled a 286-176 record in 14 seasons at Nevada and Georgia.

Francis, through a university spokesman, declined to comment.

Francis becomes the first assistant coach in McCaffery's nine years to depart the Iowa staff. Prior to this, the Hawkeyes had enjoyed the longest-tenured assistant coaching staff in the Big Ten Conference, with Francis, Kirk Speraw and Sherman Dillard having served under McCaffery since he was hired as Iowa's head coach in 2010.

Francis, a native of Brooklyn, New York, actually spent 12 total years under McCaffery. He was an assistant for three seasons at Siena when McCaffery was the head coach there.

After the Register's report was published, Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon shared a heartfelt post on Instagram about Francis' departure — outlining a moment during Iowa's overtime win against Indiana in which Francis kept Bohannon, the game's eventual hero, calm through early struggles.

"Man, it’s going to be tough to see you go," Bohannon wrote. "You were one of my favorite people to be around to talk about basketball, but more importantly about life."

Outgoing Hawkeye forward Tyler Cook added on Twitter, "Great basketball coach, but an even better leader and teacher of men. Can’t thank you enough for helping me grow in all areas of my life in my 3 years."

Francis' loss will be especially felt on the recruiting trail. That's why it wouldn't be a surprise to see McCaffery act quickly to find a replacement.

April 26-28 marks the first official evaluation period of the year, meaning coaches can watch prospects at AAU events. It's an important time to be fully staffed, with tournaments spread throughout the country, as coaches look to cement established relationships and further evaluate potential targets. And it is well-known that Iowa has an extremely important recruiting class of 2020 to assemble.