On Tuesday, Iowa announced that it had struck a new deal with Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. It’s a seven year contract that has several salary escalators and will bring his base salary in line with the middle of the pack as far as Big Ten basketball coaches salaries.
You can learn more details of McCaffery’s contract here and here, but the minimum average he will earn is $1.66 million over the life of the deal. McCaffery’s best chance to earn more money more quickly is for Iowa to make the NCAA’s next year. If they do that, he’ll jump from $1.3 million to $1.7 million. If Iowa doesn’t make the NCAA’s next year, his salary will move from $1.3 million to $1.5 million.
Some may wonder why Iowa would work a new contract with a coach who has been on the job for two years and has yet to make an NCAA tournament.
First, McCaffery’s first contract called for a review and reevaluation after two years, so Iowa was going to take a look at it at this time, regardless.
Next, McCaffery has taken a moribund program and created as much excitement as fans have seen in seven years or so. Attendance has gone up considerably the past two years under McCaffery’s watch. While year one was a tough patch (Iowa was coming off its worst record in school history), year two produced a record of 18-17, the first above .500 record since the year before Todd Lickliter was hired.
Not only that, but Iowa beat four ranked teams last year, which was as many games as Iowa had won against ranked teams in the previous five seasons combined. McCaffery has beaten five ranked teams in two years, Iowa won at least eight regular season conference games for the first time since 2006-2007, which was their last winning season. Iowa won a game in the Big Ten tournament for the first time in five attempts with the win coming against Illinois, a team that had beaten them seven-straight times.
This past season was a lot about busting up ugly streaks and establishing positive momentum. Iowa won a post season game for the first time since beating Iowa State in the 2003 NIT.
If you want to say someone can be due for a raise two years into a six year deal, McCaffery’s performance provided much data and a strong argument that he was worthy.
In essense, the new seven-year deal is a raise in pay and a three-year extension. The first deal was for six years and two years have transpired, leaving four more years on that first deal. This new deal is for seven, and seven minus four is three…see how quickly I work here?
A three-year extension provides both McCaffery and Iowa more security, which is more security for a program that is on the rise.
Just how much that program will rise in the coming years remains to be seen, but if Iowa basketball were a stock right now, there is still the chance to buy relatively low.
McCaffery said he does not view the Iowa job as a stepping stone for another position and hopes to coach beyond the seven years the contract affords. He’s 53-years old right now and will be 60 when this deal expires. If he keeps raising the bar these next two years, there may be some programs who make a run at him. Some, but perhaps not many as 55-year old coaches don’t typically have scores of programs beating down their doors.
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Then again, the college basketball community knows how far the Iowa program had fallen and if McCaffery can get the Hawkeyes back to the NCAA tournament in year three (unlikely) or four (more likely), that is going to turn some heads.
Iowa feels it has the right man at the top of its program and made a proactive move to establish security.
In my opinion, this is a win for all sides.