By now, Planet Earth is well aware of the Fran Slam. But let’s have another look at Fran McCaffery’s Rage Against the Folding Chair, anyway.
No Iowa player appeared threatened by the chair, which fortunately showed less bounce than the Hawkeyes in that game, a 95-61 loss at Michigan State last Wednesday.
Well, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany weighed in Sunday via an e-mail. Delany didn’t even name McCaffery or give specifics about the Fran Slam. Is it because the incident wasn’t serious enough to merit such detail? Or is Delany quite possibly … in fear of Fran?
“The conference did communicate its concern regarding certain conduct during the Iowa-MSU game to the institution through Iowa’s athletic director, the coach’s direct supervisor.
”The conference did not ask for, nor did the conference expect, an apology from the coach. The conference is primarily focused on future conduct, not statements of apology. The conference does not expect similar conduct in the future.”
In other words, gently tell McCaffery there’s nothing to worry about, Gary Barta. Because Iowa plays at Northwestern on Feb. 9, and Evanston, Ill., is just 10 miles from the Big Ten office in Park Ridge. No need to have McCaffery mad at the commish.
I’m kidding, of course. McCaffery was able to laugh about the chair incident on his TV show Sunday night. He said it wasn’t a well-made chair, and obviously wasn’t made in Iowa.
I’m not condoning slamming a chair in front of the world — though didn’t Kruschchev do the same thing with a shoe in 1960? But I also saw how McCaffery’s players greeted him in a Carver-Hawkeye Arena hallway as the coach was leaving his press conference and they were entering the interview room. Granted, it was in the glow of a 75-59 win over Michigan. But I didn’t see any thinly concealed fear or intimidation behind the smiles the players had as they encountered McCaffery.
Now, if this escalates into a couch or a kitchen table should the Hawkeyes get drubbed at Purdue Tuesday night, then Delany may have to do more than refer to McCaffery as “the coach.” I’m guessing the furniture will be safe and stay safe.
Monday, Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo had an addendum to the McCaffery/chair episode. Joe Rexrode of the Lansing Journal posted the following on Twitter:
Izzo said Iowa played with very high energy vs. U-M. Said Fran M. must have taken Breslin chair toss and transferred it to his team.
Izzo said there is no gouge in the floor, for the record. Also, he’s impressed how the tantrum seemed to feed Iowa emotion in next game.