Fran McCaffery tried to get President Obama to play hoops with him



Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery is having a good time right now. His team plays a fun to watch brand of basketball that’s earned them the #12 spot in the AP poll. They beat the Illini in their building for the first time since 1999 Saturday night. And Fran McCaffery’s work has caught the attention of POTUS.

McCaffery has become friends with Oregon State Coach Craig Robinson — the brother of First Lady Michelle Obama — and was interested in inviting President Barack Obama to play basketball in Iowa in 2012.


Before his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, President Obama wanted to take in some college basketball. To calm down before giving his high profile speech, Barack Obama wanted to watch ESPN, so he could see the Michigan State Spartans take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in a battle of top 15 teams. His staffers shot it down, instead of watching UI vs MSU, they took control of the television and told the most powerful man in the world to watch C-SPAN instead.

A tweet from NBC’s Luke Russert said: “Told that in the Capitol hold room Obama wanted ESPN but said staff prefer he watch the filing in on C-SPAN ahead of

So the most powerful man in the world was denied watching Iowa and their White Collar Basketball by some of his aides, huh? What does Fran think about the President using of his very rare free moments to watch his team?

“To me I was very excited about it. He’s getting ready to go deliver the State of the Union and he wants to watch our game,” Fran McCaffery said right after his Hawkeyes defeated the flagship school (Illinois) of Obama’s home state in Champaign.

president obama fran-mccaffery


“I know he’s a big hoop guy, obviously he picks out a bracket every year, he watches college basketball, he plays basketball, he’s a big basketball fan and obviously his brother-in-law coaches at Oregon State. I played against him (Robinson) in college, we’re very good friends. He came to town a couple times and I tried to get to him (Obama) to play with our guys, get a work out in whatever. But it was political season and he (Barack) was ripping and running pretty good, so he was in and out of town.”

McCaffery continued:

“I think it says a lot about our team, our league that the President would want to watch that game.”

Both McCaffery (Penn) and Robinson (Princeton) played college basketball in the Ivy League. The Presidential endorsement reminds me of the time Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond novels and movies, said this regarding John F. Kennedy: “So, JFK said ‘I wish I had a man like 007 on the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I thought well if it’s good enough for the President of the United States….”

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An MBA and Fulbright scholar, he’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments on ESPN, NBC, CBS and Fox Sports Radio. A former writer for NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, Banks has also been featured on the History Channel. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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