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McCaffery signs a new 7-year contract with Hawkeyes

[ 2 ] July 10, 2012 |

Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery has no plans to move anywhere besides up the Big Ten Conference standings and back into the NCAA Tournament.

He put his commitment to the Hawkeyes on paper by signing a new seven-year contract that was announced Tuesday.

McCaffery will be 60 years old by the time his new contract expires. He hopes it isn’t his last contract, but he wants Iowa to be his last job.

“When I came here, my hope was to finish my career here,” McCaffery said Tuesday afternoon on a teleconference. “I wouldn’t want to finish it at the expiration of this contract by any means. But this is not a stepping-stone situation. And it was never viewed that way and shouldn’t be viewed that way.

“There is no place higher than the Big Ten unless you have somebody that has always aspired to coach in the NBA, which I don’t. I want to coach in college. My family is very happy in Iowa City. I really enjoy the people that I work with. I’m very fortunate to have other coaches here who are phenomenal and very helpful to me.”

The seven-year contract guarantees the 53-year old McCaffery a minimum average of $1.66 million annually over the length of the contract, beginning with a base salary of $1.3 million in 2012-13. The base salary moves McCaffery to the upper half of the Big Ten Conference in comparison to his coaching colleagues.

However, McCaffery’s compensation for the full term of the new contract would jump to $1.86 million annually should Iowa men’s basketball team make the NCAA Tournament. He would be paid a $1.2 million bonus over the length of the contract by making the NCAA Tournament next season.

The new contract comes on the heels of a season in which Iowa won seven more games than the previous season under McCaffery, who now is entering his third season with the Hawkeyes.

Iowa finished 18-17 overall this past season. It marked the first time since the 2006-07 season that Iowa finished with a winning record.

The Hawkeyes also won a game in the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2006 and a game in the National Invitation Tournament for the first time since 2003.

Home attendance has increased by 20 percent since 2010 and McCaffery also has what is widely considered a top-30 recruiting class waiting to contribute this coming season.

“Two years into his tenure, I’m thrilled with where Fran is taking our program,” Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said in the release. “He has done an outstanding job in all phases. We are pleased that the victory total has increased the last two seasons.

“But as important, Fran has demonstrated a total commitment in all phases of the program, including recruiting, community involvement and academic performance.”

In addition to Barta, McCaffery thanked a wide range of people for putting him in this position, including his players and assistant coaches, University of Iowa President Sally Mason, Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa fans.

“I’ve been in this business long enough to know unless you have an athletic director who really understands and is willing to take those necessary steps without ever sacrificing academic integrity or overall integrity; it’s that partnership that’s necessary,” McCaffery said. “And I think with Gary and with President Mason, I think we have what we need in place there to continue to make progress that we want to make.”

McCaffery, who is married and has four children between the ages of 5 and 13, has made a career of rebuilding Division I men’s basketball programs with previous stops at Siena, North Carolina-Greensboro and Lehigh.

He was the coach at Siena for five seasons before replacing Todd Lickliter at Iowa in late March 2010. Lickliter was fired as the Iowa coach after having three consecutive losing seasons and numerous player defections.

McCaffery said he’s through moving from different jobs because he wants stability for his family and because he’s optimistic about the future at Iowa.

“I think in terms of what it means for the program, it’s the kind of stability that we’re looking for to know that we’re headed in the right direction and we’re making the kind of progress that we need to make,” McCaffery said. “I think we’ve got some tangible results, and I think there is a tremendous positive feeling around the entire program as we move forward. And we just want to kind of keep building on that momentum.”

McCaffery thinks the pieces are in place for Iowa to make a run at the NCAA Tournament next season. Iowa has only participated in the NCAA Tournament three times since former coach Tom Davis was forced to resign after the 1998-99 season.

Iowa returns five of its top six scorers from last season’s team, which defeated four nationally ranked opponents, including Wisconsin twice.

“We’re going to recruit good, quality student-athletes and compete at the highest level,” McCaffery said. “We recognize the conference we’re in and how physical it is. We talk about making progress, and we’ve made progress, but we want more.

“We’re not satisfied with where we are today. We’re sort of happy with what we’ve accomplished in a short period of time, but we want more. Our fans wants more and the game plan is to move forward.”

McCaffery planned to celebrate his new contract by taking his wife, Margaret, out for dinner Tuesday. After that, it’s back on the recruiting trail.

McCaffery said the new contract will show recruits how stable the situation is at Iowa.

“The reality is you just don’t want to play in a place where there is going to be a coaching change,” McCaffery said. “Programs want stability. They want to know that we have our guy in place and that we’re doing things the right way and we’re putting a good program together and we’re not cutting corners.”

Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or pharty@press-citizen.com.

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Details of McCaffery’s new contract

Highlights from Coach Fran McCaffery’s new seven-year contract to coach basketball at the University of Iowa.

The contract runs to June 30, 2019. It starts at $1.3 million guaranteed this year, up to a maximum of $2 million in the final year.

The contract has an escalator that can be hit by making the NCAA Tournament. If the Hawkeyes make the big dance, McCaffery makes an additional $200,000 more per year, a total potential bonus of $1.2 million.

There also is a one-time bonus of $150,000 for making the NCAA Tournament this year. In the next six years, the bonus for making the NCAA Tournament is $25,000.

There is a $10,000 bonus for making the NIT this year, but no bonus for making the NIT in subsequent years.

There are bonuses for strong Academic Progress Rates and graduation rates, going deeper into the NCAA Tournament and for earning coach of the year honors.

McCaffery would be paid the same ($100,000) for a Big Ten regular season title or Big Ten Tournament title.

Iowa has left some protection for itself if McCaffery leaves for another job. He would owe Iowa $500,000 to $2 million depending on when he left.

Iowa also has to pay McCaffery if it fires him without cause, from $2.25 million to $4 million, depending on how many years are left.

McCaffery receives six game tickets and one parking pass to every home Iowa football game.

Unlike football coach Kirk Ferentz, McCaffery doesn’t have guaranteed use of a private jet.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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