Iowa Extends Fran McCaffery's Contract Through 2027-28

By RossWB on March 15, 2021 at 10:36 pm
Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery, seen here personally demonstrating how to FLY, HAWKS, FLY.
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Less than 24 hours after Iowa earned its best seed at the NCAA Tournament in 34 years, the Iowa men's basketball program announced a contract extension for head coach Fran McCaffery. 

The timing sure beats McCaffery's last extension, which was leaked out in the middle of a 14-19 campaign in 2018-19 (some two months after the extension was officially signed). Who says Gary Barta doesn't ever learn anything? 

McCaffery's new extension will take him through the 2027-28 season, when McCaffery will be 68. McCaffery's guaranteed pay will remain unchanged for 2021-22 and 2022-23 under the terms of his new extension ($2.9 million and $3.0 million, respectively), but will increase to $3.3 million in 2023-24 and in all four extension years, up to $3.7 million in 2027-28. The Des Moines Register provided additional information regarding McCaffery's contract: 

The new income totals by year, which includes his base salary, fund-raising/camps appearances, TV/radio appearances and apparel/shoe contracts, are as follows:

  • $2.9 million in 2021-22 (unchanged from previous contract)
  • $3 million in 2022-23 (also unchanged)
  • $3.3 million in 2023-24 (a bump of $300,000)
  • $3.4 million in 2024-25 (new contract year)
  • $3.5 million in 2025-26 (new contract year)
  • $3.6 million in 2026-27 (new contract year)
  • $3.7 million in 2027-28 (new contract year)

Additionally, the university will pay McCaffery longevity bonuses of $100,000 on June 30, 2022, and $200,000 on June 30, 2023, provided he is still employed by Iowa on those dates. Under the new contract terms, Iowa would be owed $1 million in compensation if McCaffery takes another job in the first two years of the deal or $500,000 if he takes another job in Years 3 or 4.

If McCaffery were to be fired by the university, he would be owed 60% of his remaining base salary. For example, if Iowa fired him after next season, he would be owed $7.38 million. 

The circumstances around McCaffery's current extension couldn't be much more different than those around his previous extension in 2017-18. McCaffery's tenure was at one of its lowest ebbs then, coming after an NIT year in 2016-17 and in the middle of what ended up being Iowa's worst season since Fran's first year in charge (an 11-20 effort in 2010-11). In contrast, McCaffery's now at the highest point of his Iowa tenure, guiding the programs to heights not seen since the salad days of the 1980s. This season has seen Iowa consistently ranked in the Top 10, earn its best finish in the Big Ten in 15 years, and receive a 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

Of course, McCaffery's also reached those heights with a team that features Luka Garza and Jordan Bohannon, two players whose career longevity and productivity has enabled them to write their names all over the Iowa (and Big Ten) record books, as well as Joe Wieskamp, one of the best complementary players Iowa has had in years. Garza is a once-in-a-career find for a coach, a 3* prospect who blossomed into a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year thanks to a fanatical work ethic and a dogged commitment to personal improvement. It won't be easy to maintain -- and build upon -- Iowa's current success without the likes of Garza, Wieskamp, and Bohannon, all three of whom seem likely to be gone after this season.

A contract extension like this will certainly give McCaffery a lot of security in building the next stage of the Iowa program (barring a ghastly, Steve Prohm-esque collapse in an upcoming season). McCaffery is 61 now and will be 68 when this extension is due to end; a deal like this might effectively be a bridge to retirement for McCaffery. It also all but guarantees that McCaffery will own all of Iowa's all-time coaching records. He has 215 overall wins and 103 Big Ten wins at Iowa, putting him 55 overall wins and 34 Big Ten wins behind Tom Davis for the program record in both categories. This extension should make it a matter of when, not if, McCaffery will overtake Davis in those categories. 

The Fran McCaffery Era has now lasted 11 years at Iowa, longer than any previous Iowa coach except Rollie Williams (who spent 14 years in charge total, although just 13 of those consecutively) and Tom Davis (13 years). Based on today's news, it won't be ending anytime soon, either. 

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