McCaffery signs new seven year contract

BY MATT CABEL | JULY 11, 2012 6:30 AM

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Fran McCaffery has two years under his belt with the Iowa basketball program, and now the head coach has announced he's here to stay.

The deal was announced on Tuesday morning by Athletics Director Gary Barta. McCaffery's new contract keeps him with the program for the next seven years, giving him $1.66 million annually, with a base salary of $1.3 million beginning this season. If his team makes the NCAA tournament, McCaffery could make up to $1.86 million.

"I think it's the kind of stability that we're looking for [in the program], to know that we're headed in the right direction, that we're making the progress we need to make," McCaffery said in a teleconference. "I think we've got some tangible results, and I think there's a tremendous, positive feeling around the entire program as we move forward, and we want to keep moving forward on it."

The new contract comes after McCaffery and his basketball squad beat three teams ranked in the AP Top 25 (Wisconsin twice) in 2012, going on to participate in the NIT, the program's first postseason berth since 2006.

"Two years into his tenure, I'm thrilled with where Fran is taking our program," Barta said in a release. "He has done an outstanding job in all phases. We are pleased that the victory total has increased in the last two seasons. But as important, Fran has demonstrated a total commitment in all phases of the program, including recruiting, community involvement, and commitment to academic performance."

Despite these achievements, McCaffery and his team still haven't met the ultimate goal: the NCAA Tournament.

"We've made great strides in two years, but obviously, we want to get the team back in the NCAA Tournament," McCaffery said. "That would be an immediate goal. That's not easy. There are a lot of other teams that want the same thing, and there's only a small number of teams that will get in. But we're getting closer."

His players have echoed the desire, and they are entering the mindset of reaching the tournament that has eluded the Hawks since the 2006 season.

"We realize we're a good team," junior forward Zach McCabe told The Daily Iowan on Tuesday. "We need to keep working toward that goal of getting to the NCAA Tournament — and once we get there, moving on from there. That's what Coach McCaffery said to us from Day One, and we're still working toward that. It's great that we got to the NIT this year, but we want to move to bigger and better things."

McCaffery's skills on the sidelines are not his only talent. He was lauded for recruiting one of the top-25 classes in the nation for the 2012-13 season, which includes standout players Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury.

McCaffery said the long-term nature of the contract will help in recruiting, because players will know the program will keep the same coach for the duration of their college careers.

"The question [of duration] comes up all the time, and it's a legitimate one. If you have one year left on your contract, or even two, and the player's a high-school senior, the reality is, people don't want to play where there's going to be a coaching change," McCaffery said. "Programs want stability. They want to know that they have they have their guy in place and that we're doing things the right way."

Even with the longevity of the contract, fans can expect McCaffery to be with the Hawkeyes for the long haul.

"When I came here, my hope was to finish my career here. I wouldn't want to finish it at the expiration of this contract by any means," he said. "This is not a steppingstone situation, and it was never viewed that way or should be viewed that way. There's no place higher than the Big Ten."

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