On the same day where Steve Prohm, Richard Pitino, and Archie Miller were all shown the door, Gary Barta and the Iowa basketball program announced they’re keeping their guy in Iowa City.
The terms of the deal are simple: Fran gets locked up with the Hawkeyes until the conclusion of the 2027-28 season, when he’ll be the ripe age of 68.
The deal offers a guaranteed income of $23.4 million, with a base salary of $2.9 million next year that gradually goes up. He sees a bump of $300,000 in ‘23-24 and each year thereafter a 100K bump.
The salary puts him on par with Matt Painter in the conference. Tom Izzo, Fred Hoiberg (lol), Brad Underwood, Archie Miller (lol), Mark Turgeon and Chris Holtmann are still all set to make more than Fran.
The buyout... seems fair. If Iowa were to fire Fran, it’d owe him 60 percent of his remaining base salary. And if he were to leave, he’d owe the school somewhere between half a million and a million dollars depending on when he does so.
The contract was signed the day Iowa beat Wisconsin in the BTT, and was released to the public yesterday.
The knee-jerk reactions are obvious enough to make. Barta putting the horse before the cart in that he handed this out just one week before Fran’s biggest moment(s) of his career. Why lockup a guy who has just three NCAA Tournament wins, all in the first round, in 10 years? (That tenure includes an NIT run and last year’s postseason cancellation.)
Why extend a guy who’s basically already anchored to Iowa City for three more years anyway due to his own blood being on the roster? A guy who’s only two wins above .500 in Big Ten play and made it to his first Saturday of the conference tournament just this year?
But the fact of the matter is, Iowa was going to lock up a coach who dragged this team out a Lickliter-sized hole and led it to the greatest season the program has seen in 30 years. This contract rewards that faith, and insures Fran will get to coach his youngest, and perhaps most-talented son, Jack, who’s currently an eighth grader.
But if you don’t pay a guy who keeps in-state talent, finds a National Player of the Year out in the Beltway, earns you a two seed, and is a model citizen off the court, what are you paying for?
The game is given away in the lede. Iowa State, Minnesota, and Indiana are all still searching for their Fran McCaffery.