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Matt Gatens, a productive and popular basketball player when he was at Iowa, has been hired as an assistant coach to Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes men’s basketball staff.
Gatens replaces Kirk Speraw, who announced his retirement from coaching last month.
“We are excited to have Matt Gatens rejoin our program as an assistant coach,” McCaffery said in an Iowa release. “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. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection, two-time team captain, two-time academic all-conference honoree, and recipient of the 2012 Chris Street Award.
He scored 1,635 points and made 239 3-pointers over 128 games.
Gatens spent the past four seasons on Drake’s coaching staff. He served as director of operations his first two years before being elevated to assistant coach.
Before that, he was on the staff at Auburn. And before that, he 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. He led his squad to a Class 4A state title as a senior in 2008 and holds the City High record for career scoring.
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