DAYTON, Ohio – Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery has arrived in Dayton this afternoon after being on hand for his son’s successful surgery this morning at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
McCaffery was at the team hotel by 2:30 p.m. Iowa time after flying from Iowa to Ohio and will coach his team against Tennessee in today’s first-round NCAA Tournament game at Dayton Arena. The game tips off at approximately 8:10 p.m. and will be televised on TruTV.
Patrick McCaffery, 13, had surgery to remove a tumor from his thyroid early this morning. The Iowa coach caught an 8:30 p.m. flight from Dayton back to Iowa City Tuesday evening to be with his son.
“Today’s surgery for my son Patrick went as planned,” McCaffery said in a statement released by the university. “Doctors will continue tests in the coming days to determine further treatment. Patrick was in good spirits after the operation. Our family would like to thank the surgeons who performed the operation and the doctors and nurses at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics who have helped treat Patrick during this process.”
It will take several days before doctors determine whether Patrick’s tumor is benign or malignant. Patrick turns 14 years old tomorrow.
On Tuesday, McCaffery talked about the overwhelming support his family had received from friends, Hawkeye fans and strangers in recent days. Every time he checked his phone, McCaffery said, there would be 10 new text messages.
Fran and his wife, Margaret, the parents of four children, told the team about Patrick’s situation at practice on March 10. Devyn Marble stood and hugged his coach, and his teammates followed suit.Thjey went public with the information on March 11.
The support has continued to roll in in recent days. Chris Paul, the Los Angeles’ Clippers’ star point guard and one of Patrick’s favorite players, offered his support in a phone call. Twitter was full of messages from coaches, like Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, other Big Ten basketball programs, national media and Hawkeye fans offering their support and prayers with the hashtag #teampat.
McCaffery got emotional in Iowa’s locker room Tuesday, talking about the fact that Margaret would not be able to be on hand in Dayton to see the Hawkeyes’ first NCAA appearance in eight seasons.
McCaffery’s son, Connor, a freshman at Iowa City West and the McCafferys’ oldest child, is with his dad in Dayton. Twitter messages directed to the McCafferys have flowed in from across the country, using the hashtag #TeamPat.
“The outpouring of support and encouragement Patrick and our family have received this past week has Been overwhelming,” McCaffery said in the statement. “Words cannot express how genuinely thankful we are to everyone who has offered their thoughts and prayers.”