Kirk Speraw spent the last 17 years as Central Florida's head coach. He was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2007. He was fired after this season and rejoined the Iowa coaching staff last week.
Speraw, a 53-year-old Sioux City native, played under Lute Olson and worked as a graduate assistant under Olson when Iowa went to the Final Four in 1980. Speraw spoke with Iowa reporters this morning, and here are some quick hits from that conversation:
It is tough going from a being a head coach for 17 years to being an assistant under Fran McCaffery?
"It won’t be a tough adjustment, and that’s because of Coach McCaffery. He’s such an outstanding man and a great coach. You want to go with good people, and every job that I’ve ever taken after playing here at Iowa and leaving every job was always a thought process, 'Can I work with that individual? Can I learn from that individual and is that a place I could stay for the rest of my career?' I always looked at each opportunity I’ve pursued in that way, and that’s how I looked at this. Coach McCaffery is a great man, I can work with him and work for him. There’s a lot of things I can learn from him. Obviously this is a great place. If I can finish out my career here, I’d be more than happy with all of that.
"It’s not going to be hard at all from my standpoint, I have to reshape my thinking a little bit to some different details, but we’ve been here before so that won’t take long to get up to speed with that."
What have you done since joining the Iowa staff last week?
"I’ve just been here five days and I’ve hit the ground running. Just a variety of things. Obviously recruiting is paramount, trying to finish out this recruiting class, trying to get handle on 11s, 12s, and 13s. You still have to do human resource things going in.
"I went to my first I-Club up in Sioux City. So I’m going in a lot of different directions. Coach McCaffery and Coach (Andrew) Francis have had their hands full. I feel for them for the last month. They’ve been going 1,000 miles an hour in a lot of different directions."
In 2007, you were pushed by several people for the Iowa opening when Steve Alford left. What was your interest back then?
"It’s a great, great job. We know about the university and this community and this state. it’s attractive to a lot of people, not only myself. I certainly had a lot of interest then, and had a lot of interest coming with Coach McCaffery and excited to come back here and coming back to the alma mater. It’s a great tradition of Iowa basketball with all of the coaches and with all of the players through the years,and great successes. I wanted to get back here and help this program out. So we’re excited about it.
"I had a high level of interest both then and now. So we’re just looking forward to the challenge. It will be a challenge just like any coaching position is a challenge. But we’re anixous to get with the kids and get working with them."
Speraw's daughter, Brooke, is a University of Iowa student and texted messaged him every couple of hours when he was rumored to assist the program.Speraw met with Iowa recruit Zach McCabe last night in Sioux City and said McCabe has "the personality, toughness and grit that can really help this program."