One of the nice things about upgrading from a mid-major to an actual-major is that you've got resources at your disposal that weren't previously available. And by resources, of course, we mean money. Todd Lickliter didn't do a whole lot with it, and not everybody does. Count the Frantagonist as one who does, though, as he's just hired Kirk Speraw, former Central Florida head coach, as an assistant.
This move had been rumored to be in the works for a few days, so "surprised" isn't the right word, but we're certainly impressed. Speraw was a darkhorse candidate for the Iowa job both three years ago and this spring; neither came close to happening, of course, but we figured he'd at least end up with another head coaching gig, even if it was some dump of a program like DePaul.
Like the Franimal, Speraw knows a thing or two about taking a program to the NCAAs; he took Central Florida to four tourneys in his 17 years with the program. It should be noted, however, that none of the bids came after UCF jumped from the Atlantic Sun conference to the C-USA.
Best yet, the hiring fits into the Frantastic Voyage's commitment to bringing Iowa basketball back to its roots; Speraw is a former Hawkeye himself, having played for Lute Olsen about 30 years ago. It's a hell of a hire, really.
Here's what the Franvil Neidhart--okay, I'll stop--had to say about the hiring (hint: he likes it!), plus some commentary by Bohnenkamp:
"I’m ecstatic to have Kirk Speraw join our staff," McCaffery said in a statement released by the university. "I have known Kirk for a long time and have tremendous respect for his knowledge, character and reputation. When I was at the Final Four, Lute Olson recommended him very highly, as has everyone else I have spoken to about him. Kirk is very well-known and liked in the state of Iowa and it is great to have a Hawkeye on the staff."
Speraw is a good choice for the staff, considering his connection to the state as well as his ability to recruit in the Chicago area. His 2009 recruiting class included Nik Garcia of Evanston and Marcus Jordan of Deerfield. In 2008, he signed A.J. Rompza, a guard from Chicago. Rompza started all 31 games for the Knights this season, while Jordan, the son of NBA great Michael Jordan, started 18 games, including all 16 Conference USA games.
We're all agreed that this is a very good hire, yes?