Assistant Coach Kirk Speraw announces retirement

Blair Sanderson

Editor
Staff
Apr 8, 2003
107,353
223,637
113
Assistant Coach Kirk Speraw Announces Retirement

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa men’s basketball assistant coach Kirk Speraw announced his retirement, effective June 30, after 43 years of coaching college basketball. The announcement was made Wednesday by head coach Fran McCaffery.

Speraw began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Hall of Fame head coach Lute Olson on Iowa’s 1980 Final Four team and concludes as a 12-year assistant coach on McCaffery’s staff that won the 2022 Big Ten Tournament championship.

“Kirk has been the ultimate professional and an important part of our basketball program since I arrived in Iowa City,” said McCaffery. “Kirk was well-respected by the players and was one of the key components of rebuilding the program. His knowledge of the game and relationships that he developed with the players, families and fans will be greatly missed. It has been an honor to work alongside Kirk all these years.”

“I was fortunate that Coach Olson gave me my start in coaching here at the University of Iowa and I am grateful that Coach McCaffery and Gary Barta brought me back to my alma mater to finish my coaching career with a Big Ten championship,” Speraw said. “I want to thank my wife, Tracy, and our four kids (Drew, Brooke, Dustin, Bailey) for their support and patience throughout my coaching career. And I want to thank all the student-athletes that I have had the honor to coach throughout my career. Go Hawks!”

The Sioux City, Iowa, native helped guide the Hawkeyes to 20 or more wins eight of the last 10 years. Speraw and the Hawkeyes placed fifth or better in the Big Ten standings six of the last eight seasons, including a third-place finish in 2021.

In 2022, the Hawkeyes won four games in four days to capture the Big Ten Tournament title, their third in program history. Iowa finished fourth in the conference standings and won 26 games; the second highest single season win total in program history.

Speraw and the coaching staff recruited and coached a first-team All-Big Ten honoree seven of the last nine years, including two of the most dominating players in college basketball each of the last three years. Luka Garza was twice named national player of the year and a consensus first-team All-America selection in 2020 and 2021, while Keegan Murray was a finalist for the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, earned consensus first-team All-America laurels and was named the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year in 2022.

Over the last three seasons, Iowa combined to win 68 games -- fourth most over a three-year stretch in program history and most since 1987-89 -- finished each season ranked in the AP Poll -- something that has not been accomplished in more than three decades -- and won 17 contests over AP Top 25 opponents. Additionally, Iowa has had the Big Ten scoring champion each of the past three seasons, which is something that has not been accomplished by any team in the league in more than 50 years.

In 2021, Iowa won 14 Big Ten regular season games, its highest total since 1987. The Hawkeyes earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, tying its highest ever seed in the tournament.

Speraw and the Hawkeyes led the Big Ten in scoring each of the past three seasons, including ranking fifth nationally in 2021 (83.7) and 2022 (83.2). Iowa averaged more than 83 points in consecutive seasons for the first time in 27 years. Iowa was also tops in Division I in assist-to-turnover ratio in 2021 (2.0) and 2022 (1.74).

Speraw was the primary assistant who worked with Iowa’s perimeter players. In 2017, shooting guard Peter Jok became Iowa’s fifth Big Ten scoring champion in school history, averaging 19.9 points per game. Two years ago, Joe Wieskamp earned second-team all-conference laurels and was the only Division I player in the country with 400+ points, 200+ rebounds, 70+ 3-pointers and 25+ steals.

Speraw also helped mentor guard Jordan Bohannon to historic heights. Bohannon is Iowa’s career leader in assists (704), 3-pointers (455), free throw percentage (.887), double-doubles in points and assists (8) and games played (179). Jok and Bohannon combined for 174 triples in 2017, the most by a duo in a single season at Iowa. Bohannon is the only player in program history to total more than 2,000 points and 700 assists. Lastly, his 10 3-pointers at Maryland in 2022 established a new benchmark for 3-point field goals made in a game by a Hawkeye and broke the Xfinity Arena record.

As both an assistant and head coach, Speraw mentored dozens of players who played professionally, including Iowa’s Ronnie Lester, Steve Krafcisin, Vince Brookins, Steve Waite, Kenny Arnold, Kevin Boyle, Mark Gannon, Bobby Hansen, Devyn Marble, Aaron White, Jarrod Uthoff, Anthony Clemmons, Adam Woodbury, Jok, Garza and Wieskamp.

Prior to his successful coaching career, Speraw was on Olson’s Hawkeye roster for four seasons (1976-79), including lettering on the 1979 Big Ten regular season championship team.

After advancing to the 1980 Final Four as a graduate assistant, Speraw moved to Denver University, where he was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for former Iowa assistant coach Floyd Theard for two years (1981-82).

Speraw rejoined the Hawkeyes after serving 17 years as head coach at the University of Central Florida (1994-2010). During his tenure, 18 players received all-league honors, including four first-team honorees and 54 student-athletes earned academic all-conference recognition. His tenure included four NCAA Tournament berths (1994, ’96, ’04 and ‘05). In 2007, he was recognized as Conference USA Coach of the Year after guiding the Knights to 22 victories and a second-place league finish. His most successful season at UCF was in 2004, when the Knights won 25 games, received votes in the Top 25 and won the Atlantic Sun Championship, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Prior to his head coaching job at UCF, Speraw served as an assistant coach at the University of Florida for three seasons (1991-93) under head coach Lon Kruger. While on the Florida staff, the Gators participated in two NIT’s, including advancing to the semifinals in 1992.

Prior to his three years in Gainesville, Speraw was the head coach at Pensacola Junior College (PJC) from 1988-90. At PJC, he led the Pirates to an 82-21 record and three consecutive Panhandle Conference titles. Speraw was tabbed the NABC/Kodak National Junior College Coach of the Year, as well as the state’s Coach of the Year after his 1990 team won 31 games and finished fifth nationally.

Speraw also had a coaching stop at Florida Southern, serving as an assistant from 1983-87. The Moccasins made four appearances in the Division II NCAA Tournament, including a third-place finish in 1986.
 

Hawk_4shur

HR Legend
Jan 2, 2009
14,942
19,544
113
Just guessing (obviously), but I don't think it will be either Oliver or Horner, unless they believe it will lead to the HC job one day not to far in the future.

That would be a nice carrot to hang out there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hawktheworld

Franisdaman

HR King
Nov 3, 2012
54,963
60,939
113
Heaven, Iowa
Dean is also the lead recruiter for 2024 forward Cooper Koch

FKcBsXmXoA096QL




 

truehawkfan45

All-Conference
Jan 13, 2020
432
937
93
Fran ain’t bringing in a former player unless it was a walk-on lmao. He’s had ample opportunities to bring in Dean, Jeff, and Matt and he hasn’t even engaged with them. It’ll be hilarious to see what 50-year old scrub coach he brings in this time
 
  • Haha
Reactions: 2bagger22

BBHawk

HR Legend
Oct 31, 2001
27,362
20,104
113
Iowa City
Fran ain’t bringing in a former player unless it was a walk-on lmao. He’s had ample opportunities to bring in Dean, Jeff, and Matt and he hasn’t even engaged with them. It’ll be hilarious to see what 50-year old scrub coach he brings in this time
How do you know that?
 

MitchLL

HR Legend
Dec 26, 2018
19,324
29,588
113
Go outside of any past connections.

The idea of Oliver/Koch connection for one recruit??????? Nah.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BBHawk

BBHawk

HR Legend
Oct 31, 2001
27,362
20,104
113
Iowa City
Go outside of any past connections.

The idea of Oliver/Koch connection for one recruit??????? Nah.
This. It might be popular to have a former Iowa player with some fans and/or parents of Iowa kids but it really has little to no effect on national recruiting. Iowa needs someone who adds something to the staff. Not saying that the 3 former players mentioned wouldn't do that but are they the top assistant coaches out there? That's my question.
 

perryhawk

HR Legend
Gold Member
Apr 3, 2008
10,406
12,086
113
Perry, Iowa
And still hasn't been able to get out of the first weekend in the ncaa tournament....
That’s just what they were saying about B10 tournament just last summer….so what happens when he gets through to the Sweet 16? Then what will the haters say?

What happens when we hire the next Coach of the Year (Lich)? And he doesn’t get us there? Follow the Nebraska model?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hawkeyesgonewild

Dusthawk

HR All-State
Gold Member
Feb 5, 2003
595
390
63
Fran should go hire some big time recruit's (preferably a Center) high school coach or college assistant.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Smigamorski

Lumas Etima

HR All-State
Apr 1, 2003
914
1,213
93
This. It might be popular to have a former Iowa player with some fans and/or parents of Iowa kids but it really has little to no effect on national recruiting. Iowa needs someone who adds something to the staff. Not saying that the 3 former players mentioned wouldn't do that but are they the top assistant coaches out there? That's my question.
Obviously, you are exactly right. It's far more important to hire a quality coach than to hire someone for sentimental or nostalgic reasons.

That said, it's also important to get someone who is the right fit. And the right fit usually means someone who truly wants to be at Iowa -- ideally, someone who will work tirelessly to see the Hawkeye program succeed. And therein lies a potential advantage with former players. It doesn't mean you can't find the same quality in other guys -- it just might come naturally for guys who are already Hawkeyes.
 

monoman3232

All-Conference
Gold Member
Nov 12, 2005
329
223
43
Dean's next move is becoming a head coach. Going to Iowa would be a lateral move at best and is frankly a small step down. Gatens makes the most sense if the goal is to get a former player back, but I don't think that's necessary at this stage in Fran's time here. Fran knows a lot of people in the coaching world so he could take this hire in a lot of different directions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: skydog0784

Latest posts