Originally published on 3/11/2014
IOWA CITY, Ia. – Wins and losses became a footnote Tuesday.
Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery revealed that his 13-year-old son, Patrick, has a tumor on his thyroid. Patrick continues to have tests and is scheduled to have surgery March 19 at University Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to remove the mass. Additional testing will determine if the tumor is benign or malignant.
McCaffery made the announcement in a statement that was passed out to reporters shortly before his scheduled news conference at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. McCaffery said that he was made aware of Patrick's condition before traveling to East Lansing, Mich., for a March 6 game at Michigan State.
"Margaret (his wife) and I notified our players and staff of Patrick's health issue after a biopsy was done on Monday," McCaffery said in the statement. "We appreciate your concern and ask that you respect our family's privacy as we address Patrick's health."
McCaffery looked exhausted as he met with the media Tuesday, a news conference attended by his wife. The McCafferys have four children. Patrick, a seventh-grader who turns 14 the day after his surgery, shot baskets with Iowa players at Carver-Hawkeye Arena while his dad met with reporters.
The Iowa coach will fly to Des Moines on Wednesday to see his oldest son, Connor, play in the state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Connor, a freshman, starts at point guard for Iowa City West. The Trojans play a first-round Class 4-A game against Southeast Polk at 1:05 p.m.
McCaffery will then fly back to Iowa City and pick up Patrick, who has another biopsy scheduled Wednesday. The two will then fly to Indianapolis, Ind., where the Hawkeyes play Northwestern at 8 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
"Hopefully, (today) is the last time I get to see Connor play," McCaffery said. "Because that means we're still playing."
Iowa junior forward Aaron White said the team will rally behind their coach and his family.
"I just think you've got to be there for them, whether it's Mrs. McCaffery or coach," White said. "And know that Patrick's in our thoughts and prayers and be there for him. And be very understanding. I think that's what it comes down to. You've got to understand there's more important things when it comes to family.
"At the same time, if coach isn't there to hear his voice, you've got to lock in and listen to the assistants and be mature about it. That's our job in this situation."