Things got out of hand at Iowa City last Thursday, and Indiana head coach Mike Woodson is trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
With less than a minute remaining in the game, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery came across midcourt and into the Indiana bench area as official Paul Szelc was having a discussion with IU assistant coach Yasir Rosemond.
McCaffery’s presence resulted in multiple Iowa staff members coming over to the IU bench to pull him away, and then his son Connor came towards the IU bench area and had to pulled away by several of his teammates.
McCaffery was clearly whistled for a technical foul by Szelc, but for reasons that have still not been explained by the Big Ten, that technical foul was never enforced.
On his radio show on Monday evening, Woodson was asked about the situation by longtime IU radio voice Don Fischer. The second year coach was particularly frustrated with the combustible situation created by McCaffery’s presence near the IU bench.
“When you let coaches cross the line like that, you open up a can of worms for something bad to happen,” Woodson told Fischer.
“Not only has he done that once, he did it twice, and it’s unacceptable.”
The Daily Hoosier has asked the Big Ten to comment on the situation but has not received a response as of the publication of this story.
The situation comes less than a year after Michigan head coach Juwan Howard slapped a Wisconsin assistant coach during a post-game altercation. That incident highlighted how things can quickly escalate out of control in the heat of the moment. Howard was suspended for the rest of the regular season.
It was that aspect, rather than the fact that the technical foul was not enforced, that caused Woodson to reach out to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren.
“I made that very clear to the (Big Ten) Commissioner, because I would never go into another coach’s space,” Woodson said. “Forget the officiating, you saw the game just like I did. But the coach part of it, that can never happen again.”
The lack of enforcement of the technical foul did have a significant impact on the game.
Indiana trailed just 87-85 at the time the incident occurred, with 53.7 seconds remaining. The Hoosiers were already shooting two free throws. A technical on McCaffery would have given them two more free throws and possession. Moreover, an additional technical foul likely should have been called on Connor McCaffery for approaching the Indiana bench.
It is surprising the Big Ten has not addressed the incident in any public way given both the recent incident with Howard, and McCaffery’s growing history of outbursts.
McCaffery has a long history of allowing his emotions to get the best of him.
He broke a chair in 2012 during an argument with an official. In 2014, McCaffery was suspended for one game when he stormed towards an official and made contact with him. In 2019 he was suspended for two games for chasing down an official post-game and cursing at him on the way to the locker room. Both he and Connor received technical fouls in that game.
Prior to his arrival at Iowa, both McCaffery and his wife were ejected from a game in 2006 when he was the coach at Siena.
McCaffery’s temper is so well known, a special alert system was playfully created by a fan to monitor his mood.
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