In the midst of preparing his team for its NCAA tournament game against Tennessee, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery had a far more important situation to attend to. With his 13-year old son Patrick found to have a tumor (which was later found to be malignant) on his thyroid, McCaffery spent the morning of Wednesday, March 19 at his son’s side before traveling to Dayton for the Hawkeyes’ game against Tennessee that night in Dayton.
The game was a tight one, with the Volunteers winning 78-65 in overtime after a Roy Devyn Marble shot sent the game to the extra session. But instead of being boisterous in celebrating their advancement into the field of 64, each Tennessee player and coach made sure to let McCaffery know that they were thinking of he, Patrick and the rest of their family.
Those postgame actions were praised by many, and on Thursday the Southeastern Conference announced that the Volunteers were one of the conference’s Sportsmanship Award winners. Joining Tennessee were the University of Georgia equestrian team, the University of Missouri football team and the league’s women’s golf coaches.
“Sportsmanship, civility and social responsibility are marks of character that last a lifetime,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in the release. “We are proud of these teams from Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia and the women’s golf coaches of the SEC for setting an example for us all.”
In late April it was announced that a pathology report revealed that there was no additional cancer found in Patrick’s body.