Sunday, March 28, 2010

Siena's McCaffery Moves On To Iowa

Last week your blogger wrote that Fran McCaffery wasn't going to take the Seton Hall job, and that Paul Hewitt wasn't going to leave Georgia Tech for St. John's.

Right on both counts ... it happens sometimes.

There had also been serious rumblings from the Siena campus that McCaffery was more interested in moving to the midwest than to Seton Hall, or even St. John's, where he got an initial interview this past week.

And, today (Sunday), those rumors proved correct as Iowa announced it had hired the Siena coach as its new head man.

Here's the link to the story on Iowa's school website:

Hopefully, the school will learn how to spell the name of its new head coch. It's "McCaffery," not "McCaffrey," as is currently the headline, and in the copy, on the Iowa site.

The former Iowa coach, Todd Lickliter, had been compensated at $1.2 million annually.

McCaffery is likely to receive at least that, if not a little more. He can hardly be blamed for taking an opportunity to probably triple the $500,000 annual salary he was getting at Siena.

Nor, can he be blamed for moving into a more-competitive level of college basketball, from the mid-major MAAC to the Big Ten, one of the so-called high-major coferences.

Fran also has some mid-west roots, having served as an assistant at Notre Dame for several years.

It certainly was the perfect time for McCaffery to move. His team had gone to the NCAA tournament for three consecutive years with, basically, the same core of players.

His core group is graduating this year, and the expectation is Siena is likely to be a middle-of-the-pack team next year, if not beyond that. Had McCaffery stayed and gone through a rebuilding/reloading process at Siena, he'd likely get to his mid-50's before recreating the type of success with the Saints that draws the attention of bigger schools.

What's next? His top assistant, Mitch Buonaguro, has already expressed an interest in becoming Siena's next head coach.

Buonaguro is not only recognized as one of the top assistant coaches in the MAAC, if not well beyond those bounds, but has head coaching experience from several years at Fairfield in the 1980s.

Buonaguro is well-liked in the Siena community and would likely make an easy transition to become the school's next head coach.

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