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McCaffery's vocal demeanor shows in victory

BY IAN MARTIN | NOVEMBER 17, 2010 7:20 AM

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For months, the differences between Fran McCaffery and Todd Lickliter have been hashed out. But while the style of play is what's gotten the most media attention, the difference in energy between the coaches could be an even more drastic change.

McCaffery stayed somewhat reserved during the team's season-opening loss to South Dakota State Sunday, so it'd be odd that his fire would come out during a seemingly easy victory against Louisiana-Monroe on Tuesday. But it emerged in spades during the first half, with the team sputtering its way to another turnover-heavy start.

The first incident against Monroe revealing McCaffery's demanding nature was a just a turnover. After freshman Melsahn Basabe traveled midway through the first half — which proved to be one of the team's 22 turnovers on the night — McCaffery not-so-subtly kicked the scorers' table. Not five minutes later, after his defense allowed penetration by the Monroe guards on consecutive possessions, McCaffery slapped a clipboard out of an assistant's hand in the huddle.

While fans let out an audible gasp, the place didn't seem disturbed. There was a fiery coach in the arena.

"I love how coach is," sophomore point guard Cully Payne said. "Everyone knows he gets after it, he yells, he hits [clipboards] on the ground, but at the end of the day, though, as soon as you do something good he's the first one to say 'Good job.' "

Plenty of successful coaches have used vocal motivation to fire up players. Certainly Mike Krzyzewski at Duke has never been shy about showing his emotions, and neither has former Temple legend John Chaney.

So, McCaffery's style of coaching isn't unique, but it is new to Iowans who were used to Lickliter's calmness at courtside. And already, its success can be seen — even in small doses.

The Hawkeyes' execution was lacking early on in the second half against the Warhawks. After McCaffery told the huddle his feelings about that during the first media time-out, Iowa responded by going on a 10-2 run.

Players said that some of their success could be because McCaffery isn't afraid to say what he thinks.

"That gives us more motivation," sophomore guard Eric May said. "We don't want to see him flip out on us like that. The less we mess up, the less he's going to be flipping out."

May noted that the yelling is not "upsetting" or "rattling," and definitely helps the squad.

The head coach, fresh off his first career win at Iowa, admitted that frustration may be coming to him quicker than usual because progress with the squad is coming slower than expected.

But progress is a process.

With that in mind, McCaffery acknowledged that sometimes he just needs to take a deep breath on the sidelines. So at least for now, patience will be more prominent on the Iowa bench in the early part of his tenure as the Iowa head coach.

"We talked about that as a staff for a long time after the game [against South Dakota State] the other night," he said. "[The coaching staff needs] a little bit more patience."


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