IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's athletic director says basketball coach Fran McCaffery went too far when he slammed a chair to the court during last week's blowout loss at Michigan State.
Gary Barta said in a statement Monday he completely supports McCaffery, who was hired to rebuild the program after some of the worst seasons in school history.
Barta did acknowledge he heard criticism from the Big Ten Conference after McCaffery's outburst against Michigan State and had discussed the matter with the coach.
"I love his passion, his style of play, his recruiting, his work ethic, and his love for his guys," Barta said. But he added, "It's important his passion doesn't cross a line that distracts from our greater goals. That's what happened last week and that was the focus of our conversation."
Barta's statement came a day after USA Today reported that Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney said the conference "did communicate its concern regarding certain conduct during the Iowa-MSU game" to Barta. The statement said the conference did not expect an apology from McCaffery but "does not expect similar conduct in the future."
Barta said he had productive conversations with the conference and McCaffery and "from all three perspectives, last week's incident is done. It's behind us."
Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman said the conference had no additional comment.
The outburst started when McCaffery was whistled for a technical foul while Iowa was losing 69-41 in the second half. During the break, he picked up a folding chair and slammed it to the court while yelling at his players. Iowa lost the game 95-61. Video of the incident spread online, with one clip being viewed more than 110,000 times.
The Hawkeyes responded Saturday with perhaps their best outing of the season, easily defeating No. 13 Michigan 75-59 at home to improve to 11-8, 3-3 Big Ten.
At a press conference last week, McCaffery said he had no regrets or apologies for his behavior, and he would not change his style. He also said he did not receive any communication from the Big Ten and, "nor should I have."
"If anybody thinks I'm going to sit there with my hands crossed when we're down by 40, they got the wrong guy, OK. I was brought in here to change the culture. I'm going to coach with passion, and my players know that. They also know I'm going to fight for them," he said.
"I'm going to continue to coach the same way, and we're going to keep working, improving, and battling, and fighting until we're up by 40."
McCaffery said he was upset with his players for failing to adjust to a game that referees were calling loose. He said his players should have recognized that and become more physical.
Follow Ryan J. Foley on Twitter @rjfoley