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Free-For-All Friday: What if Iowa Coaches Starred in a Sitcom?

We’d really like to see Iowa sports back on TV. So much so we decided to cast them on shows, any shows, to see some of our beloved Hawkeyes sooner.

Iowa v Villanova
Is Fran McCaffery Andy Bernard? Maybe.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Hello Jerry: Greetings from Philly, JP! It’s finally my wedding day, yet here I am, early in the morning, laying in the bed in my wedding suite, talking to you and all of our FFFans. Nobody can EVER question my loyalty. Free-For-All Friday is our brain child, and I was married to this concept a long time ago. That means something, damnit.


Hello Jerry: Some haters might say that I did it for the applause and the accolades in the comments. They’re all wrong. I’m here to give the beautiful people of The Pants some mindless fun after they eat too much of that corporate bought pizza with a slice of the cake that covers all of the July birthday’s in the office.


Hello Jerry: That, and because I think we have a fire topic that I couldn’t pass up. As I told you before we hopped on, I was watching the “Diversity Day” episode of The Office to get my mind off my nerves. I’m not sure if you remember that episode, but Larry Wilmore makes a guest appearance as Dunder Mifflin consultant, Mr. Brown, to teach the staff about sensitivity in the workplace.


Hello Jerry: It’s probably one of my favorite episodes in the canon and I’ve seen it many, many times at this point. But today, I was fixated on Wilmore. I just recently started listening to his podcast on the Ringer network, so I’m more aware of him than I was during the previous times I’ve watched this amazing episode of pure comedy gold.

As he was shunning Michael Scott’s Chris Rock impersonation, my mind started wandering… what if some of the Iowa coaches made a guest appearance on a TV show? What show would they be on? What type of roll would it need it to be? Could any of them make it a recurring role after a dominating performance? Would they have catch phrases?

So. Many. Possibilities. So, JP, shall we begin?

JPinIC: Oh boy. Well, first, let me just be the first to say congratulations, buddy! It’s a big day and I couldn’t be happier for you man. Now, let’s get to the real business of the day. That bride of yours will get you the rest of your life.

If we are thinking about a show that includes all of these people in a show together as an actual, long-standing show rather than just a guest appearance (which I know wasn’t your question, but it’s FFF and I’m not here to stay on the rails, OK?) I think some form of The Office is a great starting point. Sure they all have different offices, some in different buildings, but I like to envision Gary Barta as Michael Scott just sort of stumbling through the day and nearly burning the place to the ground with every decision he makes. Kirk is pretty clearly Jim. He’s the all-American guy who is actually keeping the place afloat (not necessarily by doing anything exciting, but he’s making that money). Brands has to be Stanley. He just looks pissed that he’s there all the time. Rick Heller is Darryl down in the warehouse. He’s actually one of the best coaches, but he isn’t getting paid like it until several seasons in. And then there’s Fran. I don’t exactly know how to place him. I mean, his angry, red face makes me think of Dwight. But Dwight is an assistant to the regional manager and not anywhere nearly as great at what he does as what I believe Fran is. Fran did go to Penn, so maybe he’s Andy Bernard? But Fran isn’t exactly touting that. So I guess I don’t really know how he fits in. Maybe a new character?

Hello Jerry: Come on Big Tuna… you had it. Don’t question yourself. Fran McCaffery is absolutely Andy Bernard and I have the proof as to why:

The chair incident is the wall incident:

Of all the coaches on the staff, McCaffery would EASILY be the one that needs to go to anger management courses.

So, you’re just sticking with The Office, huh? No imagination at all here? No storylines? No fake names? There is so much you can do with these guys separately JP! Take Tom and Terry Brands for instance. I see them as former SEALs that decided to open up their own Private Investigation firm in the South Side of Chicago. They are like thunder and lightning. Good cop, bad cop. The smooth talker and the guy that beats the truth out of you. Fast forward a couple of years into their successful start, and they both get caught up in a cold case that has consumed them since. Terry (who is playing the character of Brick Brathers) gets so wrapped up into it that he ends up becoming a recreational drug user and borderline alcoholic; which inevitably forces his wife to leave him and move the family back to South Carolina. Tom (Barry Brathers) is the only thing he has left in his life that is morally good. Tom/Barry has wanted to quit. He’s wanted to travel the world. He’s wanted to find a woman and settle down but he just can’t leave his brother this way. They’ve been to war together… literally. Their bond is too strong.

That is until they come face to face with an incident at a local bar that turns ugly. So ugly that Tom/Barry decides he’s had enough and that he can’t force his brother to give up this cold case and get his life out of the gutter.

Day’s before he’s set to leave (with a one way ticket to anywhere) Barry gets wind of a could-be-witness from one of the guys he used to run on the inside on another case. With no money left to their names, nothing but pride and love left in their hearts and everything to lose, the Brands/Brathers Brothers end up teaming up with Hank Voight and the rest of the District 21 Intelligence Unit of Chicago PD to FINALLY put this case to rest in a special four part tearjerker only on NBC!


JPinIC: No, Jerry, I’m not just sticking with The Office. I was starting with The Office. Because I like to include everyone. But now that you mention it, Fran McCaffery was made for TV (OK the Brands Bros are as well, but you already nailed that with some must watch drama so let’s move on). I mean, the guy gives a ton of good content in his press conferences and we all know how, uh, fiery he can be on the court.

Given that fire and passion, I’d love to see some form of Hard Knocks following Iowa Basketball where you get to hear Fran laying into guys endlessly in practice. Of course that would be followed up by dinner at the house and building guys back up. And watching Tyler Cook give him a stare down after getting ripped apart for missing a defensive rotation that cost a bucket would be must-watch TV for me.

Similarly, I would eat up some sort of rehab show, similar to Bar Rescue or one of those. Just send Fran into a failing hoops program and let him work (and of course rip people to shreds) for like two months heading into the start of a year to help get them started, and then follow up with them after the season so he can shame them for not doing what he said. The guy has rebuilt every program he’s touched (perhaps none more so than Iowa) and with his personality, I would pay money to watch him work.


Hello Jerry: I call this the Bravofication of America. It’s not a bad thing. Look, at the end of the day, Andy Cohen is a genius and that’s ok. Hell, I get more excited for Sweet Home Oklahoma and the New Jersey Housewives than I ever thought I would or even should. It’s just so, so good that I have no problem admitting it anymore.

JPinIC: Yep, you’re going to be fine at this marriage thing.

Hello Jerry: Speaking of reality TV, wouldn’t the BEST possible reality show featuring Kirk Ferentz be Below Deck: Miami?

I can picture it perfectly. After winning another Orange Bowl, Kirk decides he loves Miami so much that he buys a Yacht and names it That’s Yachting. He goes all in to get the proper training to become a captain (Kirk can’t just sit in a recliner all day. He needs to keep busy.). Once he receives his certificate (that’s how these things happen, right?), he teams up with Cohen and together they hire eight of the most ridiculous people to man the ship with him. His first chief is Mitch King (I once saw him at a Iowa game, under the influence and putting on lipstick, so he’s perfect for a show of this nature). His deckhand is DJK (The deckhand HAS to stir the pot and who better to do this than the one time Kirk Ferentz tell-all author?). Throw in Ricky Stanzi, AJ Edds, a Guy Fieri wannabe as the chef and a few ladies from Miami and we have ourselves an award winning reality TV series, JP!

Can I invest in this? Can we invest in this? Can we start a Go-Fund Me for executive producer rights?

JPinIC: If you’re going to do this, Drew Tate absolutely has to be on the boat. And honestly, I think this has potential. But I think anything with DJK on the reality TV front has the potential to be incredibly successful. And of all the people associated with Iowa Athletics, he’s probably the most likely to make a run at trying it out. I’d watch. I’d also watch some form of reality show where there’s an “in-the-moment” (I put that in quotes because they’re inevitably filmed after the moment) reflection period for Brian Ferentz. We got some pretty raw stuff from him regarding recruiting earlier this summer and I would love to get instant reaction from him when he gets off the phone with a potential recruit or learns that Iowa State has offered their 389th kid in the class. And literally anything where Fran McCaffery is mic’d up during a game (obviously on HBO or some other premium network) is worth every penny spent to watch it.

I also think these guys (and gals of course) could make some nice one-off appearances on a few shows. I could totally envision the Brands brothers making a cameo in Band of Brothers and just annihilating an entire regiment of Nazis without using a weapon, barking orders at the rest of the squad. I would love to see Fran show some versatility and make an appearance on Modern Family as some shy, soft-spoken friend of Cam’s who’s in visiting from the midwest (possibly a former football teammate?) that turns out to not be shy and soft-spoken at all.

And as for ol’ Kirk, I really can’t think of a better place for him to pop up than an oldie but a goody in King of the Hill. He’d only have one line, of course and it’d fall right in here:


As fun as some of those are, I’m sure some of you have some better ideas. What do you got for us? Do you have an elaborate plot a la Jerry, or do you see these guys dropping one liners somewhere random?

And can we all agree that more than anything, we just want to see these guys back on TV coaching games? Is it September yet?

***Congrats to ya boy Jerry on the big day this weekend. Mazel Tov buddy!***