Dienhart: 'I hope this is last eruption of Mount McCaffery'

It’s not even lunchtime, and Iowa already has issued apologies for Fran McCaffrey’s outburst and subsequent ejection from last night’s game at Wisconsin. McCaffery was ejected eight minutes into the second half of the eventual loss after getting hit with back-to-back technical fouls.

[ MORE: Big Ten Geeks: Did Fran lose it? ]

Statement from Fran McCaffery:

“I want to apologize for my emotional reaction during Sunday night’s game at Wisconsin. I have great passion and respect for the game of basketball and everyone involved in it. I regret that my actions put our program and the University of Iowa in a negative light. I look forward to working with my staff and my players to move forward and compete for a championship.”

Athletic director Gary Barta even chimed in:

“I’ve met with Coach McCaffery regarding last night’s ejection from the game in Madison. He knows he crossed a line of acceptable behavior and accepts responsibility for his actions. All staff at the University of Iowa fully support the Big Ten Conference’s sportsmanship policy’s fundamental elements, including civility and respect toward opponents and game officials. Fran has my full support moving forward.”

If you missed it, here’s why McCaffery was ejected:

This isn’t the first time McCaffery has blown his stack. Remember when he slammed that chair?

Oh, and he apologized after that episode, too.

My point: People almost never really change/alter behavior unless they are brought to their knees and suffer dire consequences. No one walks down the street on a sunny day and says: “I’m gonna change how I live my life forever.”

Nope, big-time adversity usually is the agent for change. How much adversity and consequence has McCaffery suffered as a result of his behavior?

So, will McCaffery have another blowout? Dunno. Everyone is saying all of the right things now. It’s easy to in the aftermath of an event, isn’t it? I’m sure employee and boss have talked behind closed doors and parameters have been set—or re-set.

For the Iowa coach’s sake, I hope this is the last eruption of Mount McCaffery.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (18 Comments)
lj on 1/6/2014 @ 11:46am EDT Said:

oh. does this bring back memories of coach Knight and Indiana a few years back…

John Daufeldt on 1/6/2014 @ 11:59am EDT Said:

Ok, that is the typical BTN/BoneG policy statement. You really believe that Fran didn’t have a legitimate complaint about the referring bias for Wisconsin? This is not the first time this has happened–have you been watching the past 2 yrs? If you spent any time analyzing what is wrong w/this conference (the referring) maybe there would be SOME credibility, but pointing out the big 3’s (OSU, MSU, Wis) ref manipulation/ref bias does not align w/the special interest. Fran is just doing what Gene Keady had to do in the 80’s to get Purdue SOME what of a level playing field. Lute Olson tried the same thing back in the late 70’s and finally gave up and moved on to Az. BoneG reefing caters to the big 3. No dispute there, ask anyone not named OSU, MSU, or Wis.

IowaHawkFan on 1/6/2014 @ 11:59am EDT Said:

This issue is being blown out of proportion. People make mistakes and we are being too politically corrrect here. Coach McCaffery is an honorable man who was fghting for his team in hostile territory. He isn’t the first, nor the last HC who will do so. It is not like he threw a chair onto the floor or anything…GO HAWKS!

Josh Heberling on 1/6/2014 @ 12:15pm EDT Said:

My Question for Tom: Is this over the top? yes. Did it potential cost them the game? Yes. But to ask someone to change because of this is not realistic or fair. He hasn’t done anything to hurt anyone. He has only given the nat’l media fodder to write articles and play the moral police. The guy has a lot of passion and occassionally it boils over. If Izzo or Coach K did this it would be lauded by the media

Brian Schwartz (@bwschwa) on 1/6/2014 @ 12:30pm EDT Said:

hell no … and we love that! I want a coach who’s not afraid to let the Refs know it when a player is getting jobbed, like Olaseni was … get a technical while coming to the defense of your player is almost NEVER a bad thing … as for the second T, just don’t bump into the Ref next time

Lefty on 1/6/2014 @ 1:53pm EDT Said:

And who died and made Tom God. They won’t put it on because it isn’t to his liking.

Wisfan on 1/6/2014 @ 2:02pm EDT Said:

As a Wis fan, I agree with IowaHawkFan. The second technical was not necessary. It didn’t cost the game as only 2 FTs related to the second technical.

dnetty on 1/6/2014 @ 2:25pm EDT Said:

So, Tom you would prefer not another eruption, but you can tolerate the inconsistent officiating during Big 10 play? Amazing. As a member of the national media, you shouldn’t be naive enough to believe that in the Big Izzo, Ryan, Painter, etc. work the officials. Gosh those guys piss and moan and act like babies all game, but that is ok. How come? Never been ejected? None of them took over a basketball program that had a pulse of a snail. Coach Mac has put life into a program that was a regular in the NCAA tourney in the 90s. I am not thrilled he got ejected, but sometimes in the moment things happen. Good for him for standing up for the nonsense that is Big 10 officiating. Those free throws didn’t cost them the game either. Give me the four points from the poor Olaseni goal tending and the flop on the Marble drive in the first half and it looks even. As an Iowa fan, I would be appalled as a conference to say those three gentlemen were qualified to work Men’s hoops in this conference. I thought the officiating was awful for Iowa, but in reality it was bad for both teams. Also while writing holier than thou articles, could you please spend time researching out of conference vs in conference officiating. It seems since the Big conference schedule has started, fewer fouls have been called and the POE (points of emphasis) have gone by the wayside.

David on 1/6/2014 @ 4:35pm EDT Said:

This Badger fan could not disagree more with Wisfan.

He totally deserved that 2nd T. He yelled at one ref until he got the T, then he moved on to the 2nd ref until he got the 2nd T. THEN he moved on to the 3rd ref. I’m surprised he didn’t get a game suspension for what amounts to his 3rd offense in 2 minutes.

He gave UW 4 points WHEN HIS TEAM WAS IN THE LEAD. It was the dumbest thing I’ve seen out of a B10 coach in years. He gave up the lead just to “stand up to the refs.” My lord is that stupid.

BY on 1/6/2014 @ 4:35pm EDT Said:

And I hope this is the last article written by Tom “Don’t have talent” Dienhart. Could you be more of a drama queen?

Marilyn Fairman on 1/6/2014 @ 5:21pm EDT Said:

I can’t believe the support for the infantile behavior of the Iowa coach! If my husband had behaved like that when he was coaching, I would have insisted on some anger management sessions. What an example for the young people he teaches! Complaining to the refs about supposed unfair calls is one thing; throwing a public tantrum is quite another.

bob on 1/6/2014 @ 5:54pm EDT Said:

you knew IA. was in for a long night-Within the 1st 4 min.s of the gm. the refs made 4 calls away from the ball against Iowa. 2 of them for 3-sec. violations. He was simmering from the get go. Why can’t they review goal-tending like a 3 pt shot? the ball was clearly out of the sphere and more than halfway down the rim. Olaseni pushed the ball back up.Easy to see on replay. Better Point guard play in the final minutes of all 3 games makes this all mute.

Ben Schmitt on 1/6/2014 @ 6:23pm EDT Said:

Gotta clean up the reffing B10. More more home court or elite team bias. WI is not THAT good at defense and flop and grab and hand check all the time. Iowa is trying to play clean (and pure basketball) and they are getting dragged down into the football style nonsense called only certain ways. Stop it already. Do you people really like watching WI huc up 3s all day? That’s women’s basketball – they can play there if they want to. Boring Bo basketball as usual.

hawk3434 on 1/6/2014 @ 6:59pm EDT Said:

Coaches accept home teams get foul calls? That is ridiculous. Disciplineary action for getting booted? Also ridiculous. He was punished during the game and if you watch his coaching you know, in rare instances, he get on the refs more to get his team fired up when they feel taken advantage of, right or wrong it does work. If you don’t like it don’t watch the games.

Tyler on 1/6/2014 @ 8:48pm EDT Said:

It appalls me that people are defending Fran. He overreacted, yes, but going after the refs the way he did is inexcusable. He needs to be fined and possibly suspended. He has a history blowing up and apologizing. Obviously it isn’t working. Were there some bad calls? Yes. But there were bad calls on both end of the court.

matt on 1/6/2014 @ 9:54pm EDT Said:

ok so first off, the reffing WAS horrendous, BUT, it was equally horrendous, no team had an unfair advantage due to the job the refs did. Secondly, watching the video, Franny Mac clearly was NOT in control, whether he bumped a ref or not. Third, Franny Mac clearly did bump the ref, its on video, and the ref did not approach him, HE approached the ref, the ref was literally standing still.

If it was a “coaching move” to fire up his players, it was the wrong time and place. Iowa SHOULD have been fired up to play the #4 team in the country without Franny Mac having to say a word. If that’s what it takes to get fired up to play one of the top teams in the country, Iowa was destined to lose anyway.

All of that being said, the game itself was a typical, physical, big ten game. The refs should have let them play a bit more than they did.

hawk3434 on 1/7/2014 @ 12:37am EDT Said:

Matt you are correct the officiating was horrible and Fran did bump the arm the ref was sticking out. As for my prior comment I disagree. Wisconsin was on a run and only heating up from 3 point range. The refs were becoming less consistent and it seemed Iowa was beginning to focus on bad calls instead of playing. Even announcers watching noticed Iowa played better after the charade then the 8 minutes prior. One last thing, the rules, for whatever reason, are designed to discourage physical play as the announcers state in every basketball game I have watched this season.

Jimmy on 1/7/2014 @ 2:17pm EDT Said:

Tom U R dead on concerning Mt. (er… Coach) McCaffery. No place in sports today to be pulling this garbage. It WILL cost you if you want to play ‘Bobby Knight’…that’s history and NO conference officials will put up with it today. Learn from this one Fran and you might even get your talented Hawk team into the NCAA in March.