Matt Gatens officially named to Iowa coaching staff

Blair Sanderson

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Matt Gatens Named To Coaching Staff

IOWA CITY, Iowa --
University of Iowa head basketball coach Fran McCaffery has named former Hawkeye, Matt Gatens, as an assistant coach on his staff, replacing the position previously occupied by Kirk Speraw, who announced his retirement from coaching last month.

“We are excited to have Matt Gatens rejoin our program as an assistant coach,” said McCaffery. “Matt was a respected leader on my first two teams as Iowa’s head coach. I could tell right away that he exhibited all the necessary attributes to be a successful coach. Since transitioning to the coaching profession, Matt has gained valuable experience working on the staffs at Auburn and Drake. He will have an immediate impact on our program.”

“I am thrilled and truly honored to be rejoining the Iowa men’s basketball program,” Gatens said. “I have an incredible amount of respect for what coach McCaffery, his staff and players have built in Iowa City. It’s a privilege to now work for my former coach and someone who I have looked up to since he started here 12 years ago. I’m looking forward to representing Hawkeye Nation and competing for championships in a place that I call home. I can’t wait to proudly wear the Black and Gold once again.”

Gatens was a four-year starter for the Hawkeyes from 2009-12. His final two seasons were McCaffery’s first two as Iowa’s head coach. As a senior, Gatens and the Hawkeyes won seven more games than the previous year and advanced to postseason play (NIT Second Round) for the first time under McCaffery and the first time as a program in six seasons.

The Iowa City native was a two-time All-Big Ten selection, two-time team captain, two-time academic all-conference honoree, recipient of the 2012 Chris Street Award, and voted to the 2009 Big Ten All-Freshman team. Gatens amassed 1,635 points and 239 3-pointers ranking 10th and third, respectively, in Iowa history. In 128 career games, he averaged 12.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals per contest.

Gatens returns home as an assistant coach after spending the past four seasons (2019-22) on Drake’s coaching staff. He served as director of operations his first two years before being elevated to an assistant coach the last two seasons.

Gatens helped guide Drake to four straight 20-win seasons (95 combined wins), the 2019 Missouri Valley Conference regular season title, an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2021, and to two Missouri Valley Tournament championship game appearances.

Prior to joining the Bulldogs, Gatens was on the basketball staff at Auburn, where he assisted in travel, development, scouting, video and camps for the Southeastern Conference Champions. Gatens also aided in the development of the team’s guards, including All-SEC selections Bryce Brown and Jared Harper.

Following his Hawkeye career, Gatens played professionally in France, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine. He returned to the United States to play for the Iowa Energy in the NBA Development League, but he suffered a torn ACL just five quarters into the 2016-17 season, ending his playing career.

Gatens was named Iowa’s ‘Mr. Basketball’ and the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Iowa City High School. He led his squad to a 4A state title as a senior in 2008 and holds the City High record for career scoring.

Gatens and his wife, Erin, are the parents of a son, Nash, and daughter, Noa.
 

HawkAssassin

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Amongst other reasons, they were probably looking for a new shot doctor to replace Speraw.

Don’t see much of Drake. How would people describe their defense under DeVries?
 

SDHawkDoc

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He was a dedicated Hawk on some lousy teams.
I don't remember him as a great defender, but I hope as a coach he brings an attitude about the importance of D. After that I'd like to see some new, unique recruiting inroads.
Will be interesting to see what kind of impact he has.
 
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FWIW4922463

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This is a great hire, IMHO. A young guy with as solid a Hawkeye background as you can get, but with some valuable outside experience as well. Had to have been an interesting time hanging around Bruce Pearl.

Anyway, Gatens was a gamer, and I am hopeful he will bring new ideas and new energy to the Hawkeyes.
 

longliveCS40

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Hopefully, Matt has developed some recruiting inroads over the years. Great seeing a Hawk return home. Has always seemed like a great kid.
 
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Quintana

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i hate to be a party pooper, but this hire doesn't inspire me at all. recruiting (and NIL) is the name of the game and i don't see where MG is going to move that needle. he has age as a positive but beyond that he's unproven at best and doesn't expand our geological footprint.

i also wish we would get away from the whole 'keep it in the family' mindset Iowa has. but maybe thats how it works for young assistants... someone has to give them a chance i guess.

hope i'm way off and he makes a positive, obvious impact.
 

IowasLaw

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This is kind of a decent hire. Solid, but definitely not a home run who can improve upon our recruiting struggles.

Nothing says upgrade to recruiting like bringing in a skinny white guy from small town Iowa who once led the Hawks to the NIT before playing a little semi-pro ball in Europe.

On the plus side, the guy bleeds black and gold (I think he committed to Iowa as an 8th or 9th grader), so it's his dream job and he'll be committed to the program long-term rather than jumping ship when other schools come calling. Hopefully he can help with Xs and Os and shooting mechanics.
 
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Hans81

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This is kind of a decent hire. Solid, but definitely not a home run who can improve upon our recruiting struggles.

Nothing says upgrade to recruiting like bringing in a skinny white guy from small town Iowa who once led the Hawks to the NIT before playing a little semi-pro ball in Europe.

On the plus side, the guy bleeds black and gold (I think he committed to Iowa as an 8th or 9th grader), so it's his dream job and he'll be committed to the program long-term rather than jumping ship when other schools come calling. Hopefully he can help with Xs and Os and shooting mechanics.
“Skinny” ... don’t think I would use that adjective to describe Gatens.
 

SDHawkDoc

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i hate to be a party pooper, but this hire doesn't inspire me at all. recruiting (and NIL) is the name of the game and i don't see where MG is going to move that needle. he has age as a positive but beyond that he's unproven at best and doesn't expand our geological footprint.

i also wish we would get away from the whole 'keep it in the family' mindset Iowa has. but maybe thats how it works for young assistants... someone has to give them a chance i guess.

hope i'm way off and he makes a positive, obvious impact.
I don't necessarily agree with your take, but I enjoyed the implication about the Hawks being part of the fossil record.;)
 

perryhawk

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i hate to be a party pooper, but this hire doesn't inspire me at all. recruiting (and NIL) is the name of the game and i don't see where MG is going to move that needle. he has age as a positive but beyond that he's unproven at best and doesn't expand our geological footprint.

i also wish we would get away from the whole 'keep it in the family' mindset Iowa has. but maybe thats how it works for young assistants... someone has to give them a chance i guess.

hope i'm way off and he makes a positive, obvious impact.
I don't know the answers here.....but isn't Mike Gatens, Matt's dad, pretty connected in the Iowa City business community and with a good part of the alumni base? Doesn't that seem to be a good connection for inroads and promoting the NIL? Much more-so than someone from outside the "Iowa Basketball" world/family?

I would also think that when it comes to recruiting Iowa talent (which has to be the core of the Iowa BB program recruiting) that Matt would be well recognized by Iowa HS coaches and in a lot of communities. I think this is one of the strengths that Speraw brought to the program that seems important to fill/replace.
 

NevadaHawk

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Welcome back, Matt! The staff could use some new blood and I believe you are a spectacular hire. I hope you can help this team get to the next level on defense and rebounding.
 

CRWash63

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i hate to be a party pooper, but this hire doesn't inspire me at all. recruiting (and NIL) is the name of the game and i don't see where MG is going to move that needle. he has age as a positive but beyond that he's unproven at best and doesn't expand our geological footprint.

i also wish we would get away from the whole 'keep it in the family' mindset Iowa has. but maybe thats how it works for young assistants... someone has to give them a chance i guess.

hope i'm way off and he makes a positive, obvious impact.
YOU ARE A PARTY POOPER - YOUR OPINIONS ARE WORTHLESS.
 

Fan In Black

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why do people think an assistant coach would / could rehaul the defense? You teach what the head coach wants. Norm Parker ran a blitzing 3-4 defense at Vandy, because that is what head coach wanted. Gary Close coached a full court pressing zone under Dr Tom. Didnt see any of that under Bo Ryan.

They are hired to teach the system that comes from the top.
 

DodgerHawki

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why do people think an assistant coach would / could rehaul the defense? You teach what the head coach wants. Norm Parker ran a blitzing 3-4 defense at Vandy, because that is what head coach wanted. Gary Close coached a full court pressing zone under Dr Tom. Didnt see any of that under Bo Ryan.

They are hired to teach the system that comes from the top.
You are correct. Vast majority of the time the head coach has a definite idea of how he wants his team to play. The assistants are going to teach to that. About the only exception to that I can remember is Belein turning over his defense to a new assistant late in his career. Belein's teams at WV and Michigan were usually very good on offense and had trouble defending. They did end up going to the 2018 Final 4 by winning the regional final 58-54. Belein had been to Final 4's and won conference titles earlier in his career at Michigan before turning over the defense.

I have no idea if something like that would work at Iowa. I am 100% certain Fran won't be forced into it, he will only do it if he thinks it's a good idea.
 

LuteHawk

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Matt Gatens is young enough to understand that the
college basketball scene is all about WINNING. Matt
is a winner and I wish him much success as a new coach
on the Iowa Hawkeye staff.
 

TRHawkeye145

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It didn’t take long for the message board geniuses to knock the hire. I think it’s a good hire and am happy to have him.
It also didn't take long for the other message board geniuses to knock the posters who are knocking the hire

Message boards are great :)
 
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He was a dedicated Hawk on some lousy teams.
I don't remember him as a great defender, but I hope as a coach he brings an attitude about the importance of D. After that I'd like to see some new, unique recruiting inroads.
Will be interesting to see what kind of impact he has.
Why does it matter if he was good on defense? There are plenty of examples of coaches who never played basketball past High School who are stellar defensive coaches.
 

WildIowaCat

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This is kind of a decent hire. Solid, but definitely not a home run who can improve upon our recruiting struggles.

Nothing says upgrade to recruiting like bringing in a skinny white guy from small town Iowa who once led the Hawks to the NIT before playing a little semi-pro ball in Europe.

On the plus side, the guy bleeds black and gold (I think he committed to Iowa as an 8th or 9th grader), so it's his dream job and he'll be committed to the program long-term rather than jumping ship when other schools come calling. Hopefully he can help with Xs and Os and shooting mechanics.
The thing maybe being glossed over in all of this is the Europe connection. The future of college ball for the vast amount of teams not in the top 1% of NIL madness should be looking over seas for prospects, with a mixture of U.S. preps and good fits from the portal. This is where schools like Iowa can get players who still value the college experience while having a real shot at finding talent outside of the mainstream.
 
Sep 8, 2018
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This is kind of a decent hire. Solid, but definitely not a home run who can improve upon our recruiting struggles.

Nothing says upgrade to recruiting like bringing in a skinny white guy from small town Iowa who once led the Hawks to the NIT before playing a little semi-pro ball in Europe.

On the plus side, the guy bleeds black and gold (I think he committed to Iowa as an 8th or 9th grader), so it's his dream job and he'll be committed to the program long-term rather than jumping ship when other schools come calling. Hopefully he can help with Xs and Os and shooting mechanics.
Recruiting struggles? Guard position….I’ll give you that but we have some good young ones now. But otherwise the recruiting has been pretty solid imo. Unless you don’t like AAs and 1st team B1G type players.
 
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hooper56

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I don't know the answers here.....but isn't Mike Gatens, Matt's dad, pretty connected in the Iowa City business community and with a good part of the alumni base? Doesn't that seem to be a good connection for inroads and promoting the NIL? Much more-so than someone from outside the "Iowa Basketball" world/family?

I would also think that when it comes to recruiting Iowa talent (which has to be the core of the Iowa BB program recruiting) that Matt would be well recognized by Iowa HS coaches and in a lot of communities. I think this is one of the strengths that Speraw brought to the program that seems important to fill/replace.
Good points!
 
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The Deplorable Sleeping Dog

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Isn’t it good practice to let the guy prove himself before downgrading his value?
Regrettably there are just a small percentage of "fans" who simply ridicule or berate the coaches and quality of the players as a knee jerk reaction to any news, and gratuitously when there is no news.

Matt was a very smart player in general. He was an especially smart defender. Maybe Matt will have some new insights. McC is not a dumb guy. McC certainly knows Matt's basketball IQ and is sufficiently smart himself to recognize good suggestions from kind of the next generation.​
 
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Quintana

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I don't know the answers here.....but isn't Mike Gatens, Matt's dad, pretty connected in the Iowa City business community and with a good part of the alumni base? Doesn't that seem to be a good connection for inroads and promoting the NIL? Much more-so than someone from outside the "Iowa Basketball" world/family?

I would also think that when it comes to recruiting Iowa talent (which has to be the core of the Iowa BB program recruiting) that Matt would be well recognized by Iowa HS coaches and in a lot of communities. I think this is one of the strengths that Speraw brought to the program that seems important to fill/replace.
points taken. but i think part of our problem is relying too heavily on in state talent. obviously and absolutely you have to go after the local kids that are high majors, but i think we would all love to expand our recruiting footprint... maybe Matt is the guy to do it. we shall see.
 

unoHawkeye

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A no-brainer hire regardless, but was Gatens at Auburn for their 2018 Final Four run? That’s some incredible experience if so, on top of coaching under many’s favorite for the next Iowa HC job Darian DeVries (a fantastic coach) at Drake. Excited to have Matt aboard
 

Quintana

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Isn’t it good practice to let the guy prove himself before downgrading his value?
of course you are right and i'm sure he will be a fantastic representative of the uofi and will help us to many, many wins. i would love nothing more than to see MG help us get to the sweet 16, but my fear is that as long as we make the dance, and tho we continually get bounced in the first weekend, everyone who matters will remain happy and the status will be quo'd. i really hope you are right and i am wrong and MG is the piece that gets us over that hump.
 

The Deplorable Sleeping Dog

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points taken. but i think part of our problem is relying too heavily on in state talent. obviously and absolutely you have to go after the local kids that are high majors, but i think we would all love to expand our recruiting footprint... maybe Matt is the guy to do it. we shall see.
You mean like this season where the point guard will not be from Iowa, the 2 guard is from Indiana and the center is foreign. This Iowa team looks a lot like they always have, heavily Iowa, and heavily Midwest with OOS recruits.

The state of Iowa is now producing far better basketball players than at any time in state history. Same with football. This is some change that has worked in Iowa's favor.
 

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