OTTUMWA — His first trip to Southeast Iowa came after his first year as head coach of the Iowa men’s basketball program.
Even with one full season under his belt, that first time Southeast Iowa I-Club Tailgate still felt like an introduction to a fan base for Fran McCaffery.
It was safe to say on that on Friday, no one needed an introduction to McCaffery in his second visit to the annual Ottawa event. Fans of the black and gold from all around the area not only know who’s in charge of Iowa men’s basketball, but just what he’s capable of doing.
And many of those fans wanted to shake his hand for bringing the level of expectations back up to a program with so much winning tradition. McCaffery enjoyed meeting and greeting all the area fans that packed into the Tom Arnold Net Center Friday for the annual event hosted by the 75-year-old SE Iowa I-Club.
OTTUMWA — “I’ve been spending a lot of time interacting with all the Hawkeye fans around the state. It’s been so much fun to talk to everyone. Everyone has been so positive about the team and what we are capable of next season,” McCaffery said. “That’s what you want as a coach. You want that excitement level to be high from your fan base. You want them to know the players and want to come out to Carver Hawkeye Arena and see us play.”
“The first time I was here, I hadn’t been here that long. Now that I’ve been here for a few years, I think people know what they can expect from me and our basketball program.”
McCaffery was the featured guest of Friday’s event, which also saw fans meet and hear from Iowa football offensive coordinator Greg Davis about the hopes for Kirk Ferentz’s squad after a disappointing 4-8 season. With offensive struggles being the main culprit behind a season-ending six-game losing streak, Davis at least showed he could have a sense of humor when addressing the room full of Iowa fans on Friday.