Iowa’s Fran McCaffery on Dan Dakich’s criticism of a player: ‘He’s a TV guy. If he was a coach, he’d be coaching’

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source: Getty Images
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Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery has fired back at ESPN announcer Dan Dakich, who called his center, Adam Woodbury, “gutless” and “cowardly” during Tuesday night’s broadcast.

Twice during Tuesday’s blowout loss at No. 6 Wisconsin, Woodbury was caught on camera poking a Badger player in the eye while playing defense on the perimeter. He also picked up a foul for putting an elbow into the neck of a Wisconsin player as he rolled on a screen.

Video of the incident can be seen here, and it set Dakich off.

“If I was Bo Ryan, I would send that video in to the Big Ten office and ask that Woodbury get suspended,” Dakich said on ESPN’s broadcast, and he was just getting started. “There’s no rhyme or reason for that. That’s complete garbage. When you do that, you’re doing it on purpose to a completely defenseless player.”

“It’s gutless as well and he’s doing it on purpose. You can say he’s not and you can get mad at me all you want, but he’s doing it on purpose, it needs to stop and the Big Ten office needs to discipline the kid. Woodbury, for some reason, Woodbury thinks that that kind of thing is toughness. That’s as cowardly as you can be to hit a guy from behind or to poke a guy in the face and quite frankly Fran McCaffery and his staff have got to stop this.”

McCaffery defended his player on his weekly radio show, and his point does have some merit, regardless of how intentional the eye-poke looked.

Woodbury is a 7-foot-1 center playing defense on the perimeter, something that he’s not used to, and he’s doing it against guys that are lethal three-point shooters. “What they teach is they’re going to drop their head and they’re coming into your space,” McCaffery said. “I’m teaching we’re coming into your space.”

That’s not completely far-fetched, especially when you consider a tactic that quite a few defenders use on the perimeter is to simply put a hand in front of a three-point shooter’s face instead of contesting the shot at the top of that player’s jump. Could Woodbury have simply been trying to do that and he’s just too uncoordinated to do it effectively? I guess, although the fact that he rubbed Frank Kaminsky’s head makes it seem more like gamesmenship than it does a bit of goofy defending.

But we weren’t done yet.

In addition to staunchly and unequivocally defending his guy, McCaffery also made sure to get in a couple of shots at Dakich’s coaching resume.

“Danny Dakich is so far out of line,” McCaffery said. He’s just lost it on this one. He doesn’t know Adam Woodbury. And for him to say the reprehensible things he’s said about an amateur is inexcusable. It’s absolutely inexcusable that his network would allow him to say those things of things about a guy he doesn’t know.”

“First of all, we can debate what he thought he saw. He has every right to have an opinion. He happens to be wrong. One hundred percent wrong. Adam Woodbury did nothing purposefully to injure the guy he was guarding.”

“I don’t appreciate him saying anything about what I should do,” he added later. “He’s a TV guy. If he was a coach, he’d be coaching.”

“I should tell him to go buy some lottery tickets. He’d have a better chance to win the lottery than to ever in any way recommend what I should do with my player or my team.”

After the host of the radio show called Dakich — a former assistant at Indiana and, for a time, the interim head coach after Kelvin Sampson was fired — a “former coach in the Big Ten”, McCaffery added this zinger: “Former assistant coach in the Big Ten. Let’s clear that up.”

Dakich responded on twitter this evening: