McCaffery talks Dakich on radio show

Iowa basketball coach rips ESPN broadcaster for comments during Tuesday's game

ESPN personalities Dan Dakich (left) and Mike Tirico during the first half of their NCAA Big Ten Conference men's basket
ESPN personalities Dan Dakich (left) and Mike Tirico during the first half of their NCAA Big Ten Conference men's basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)

Below is a transcript from Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery’s weekly radio show, when he was questioned by Iowa play-by-play voice Gary Dolphin about an incident involving Adam Woodbury and ESPN broadcaster Dan Dakich’s subsequent remarks.

Woodbury poked the eyes of two different Wisconsin players during Tuesday’s game, an 82-50 Badgers victory. Woodbury was not called for a foul on either play. He was later called for a foul when he placed his elbow near a Wisconsin player’s neck while fighting for rebounding position.

Dakich called Woodbury’s actions “cowardly” and “gutless” and called for his suspension. Here the exchange between Dolphin and McCaffery:

GARY DOLPHIN: “Adam is being accused in some circles, most notably by Dan Dakich, the former Indiana coach, Indiana player on ESPN, went as far as to call him a dirty player, a coward, I may be missing some other terminology, some other descriptions of him today. Dan Dakich is a different guy, he’s a character. I think he likes to stir the pot, I think that’s why ESPN has him there. Mike Tirico is the consummate professional play-by-play guy. Anyway, let’s start at the beginning. I’ve never known Adam Woodbury to be a dirty player. So let’s start with that.”

FRAN MCCAFFERY: “I think that’s the thing that’s most upsetting in this whole situation that has gotten completely blown out of proportion. Danny Dakich is so far out of line. 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. Let me explain to you how this happens. First of all, you’re playing a great 3-point shooting team. We’re going to teach closeout with a high hand, have a high hand. What they teach is they’re going to drop their head and they’re coming into your space. I’m teaching we’re coming into your space, Bo’s teaching they’re coming into our space. And that’s what happened. He got tangled up with (Duje) Dukan on a rebound and they made a federal case about it. It’s idiotic. Idiotic.

“But for him to call Adam Woodbury a coward and gutless is inexcusable. All right. And I don’t appreciate him saying anything about what I should do. 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. Adam Woodbury is my guy, I’ll go to war with him any day of the week. As far as I’m concerned, I’m through with it. He wants it to continue. He’s got a radio show. He’s probably going to do our game Saturday (Jan. 31 against Wisconsin). He wants to be on radio. He wants his name out there; that’s how they utilize him on that station. That’s his prerogative. He owes Adam Woodbury and Adam Woodbury’s family an apology for how he attacked that kid so maliciously I’m really disappointed in him, I’ll tell you that.”


DOLPHIN: “I know Dan fairly well. I’ve gotten to know him over the last couple of years ...”


DOLPHIN: “He’s a goofball and he gets paid to comment like that, maybe not a goofball, but he’s a character. A lot of analysts try to create their image of who they are, but he’s a former Big Ten player and a former coach in the Big Ten. That’s what surprised me about his comments.

MCCAFFERY: “Former assistant coach in the Big Ten. Let’s clear that up.”

DOLPHIN: “Adam came out and we read the comments today and let’s repeat them. ‘I try to play hard and tough every time I take the court. In no way did I go out there with the intention to hurt anybody, that’s not who I am. I might be a lot of things, but I am not a coward and I was not deliberately trying to poke anyone in the eye.

‘My hand was up in their space because they are really good shooters; I was trying to disrupt their timing. It was inadvertent and I apologize for the commotion it has caused. I have great respect for Wisconsin and its players. I’ve moved on from this and have begun preparation for Purdue on Saturday.’

MCCAFFERY: “That’s who he is. He’s an incredibly professional individual. The first thing I did when I became aware of this, I got him privately and I said, ‘Adam do you remember these plays because I don’t even remember the plays happening?’ Two of them, there wasn’t even a foul called. Refs didn’t even call a foul. The other one they called a foul, which could have easily been on the other guy, they didn’t call a flagrant, and they’re crucifying this guy on television. It’s idiotic. It’s absolutely idiotic. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I know what I see and I know my guy. You want to tee off on a kid, this isn’t Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant makes $180 million. You want to tee off on him? Go ahead. He’s a big boy. These are amateur athletes. He has no right, no right to attack a kid that way. No right at all.

“I think everybody’s getting away from what should be the topic. I don’t care if you disagree, if you think he fouled a kid, you think ... that’s irrelevant. The problem is, how he said it and the way he attacked this kid. That is unacceptable. Unacceptable.”

DOLPHIN: “When I first heard this morning, Bobby Hansen called me this morning and said it’s been all over social media and this uproar. So I went and looked at the tape and I thought you’ve got a 7-foot-1 center out trying to play perimeter defense because of who Wisconsin is, they’ve got great 3-point shooters. You’ve got a 7-foot guy at 240 pounds, he may be a little bit out of position. but his hand is clearly extended before any contact.”


MCCAFFERY: “It’s exactly where it’s supposed to be. It’s exactly where it’s supposed to be.”

DOLPHIN: “Have you had any contact with anybody with the Big Ten office? Do you expect anything to come out?”

MCCAFFERY: “I do not. I do not. And I can tell you there will be nothing done on my end or the university’s end. We’re 100 percent behind Adam as a department, as an institution and as a coaching staff.”

DOLPHIN: “What is your past relationship with Dakich, if anything?”

MCCAFFERY: “It’s been fine. It’s been fine. I’ve never had a problem with him. But if you start attacking my guys, then we have a problem.”

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