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Wine Online: Fran Joins Some Elite Company
Ralph and Lute were also tossed from games during their days on the UI bench
Fran has proven he'll fight for his Hawkeyes even if it costs him a place on the bench.
Fran has proven he'll fight for his Hawkeyes even if it costs him a place on the bench.
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Dec. 11, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- When Fran McCaffery was ejected from Iowa's basketball game at UNI the other night, he joined select company. Ralph Miller and Lute Olson, two of the best coaches Iowa ever had, also got tossed out of games while coaching the Hawkeyes.



Back in 1969 a coach was ejected after his third technical foul (today it is two), and Ralph Miller got his third in a game at Michigan State. He was summarily banished from the Iowa bench as the crowd hooted and hollered.

The Spartans played their home games at a musty old building called Jennison Fieldhouse, which had radio booths hanging from the ceiling. It was in one of these booths that Bob Brooks was describing the game to his listeners back in Cedar Rapids via KCRG radio. Brooks tells the story from here.

"Shortly after Ralph got ejected he showed up in my booth, but he didn't sit down. He just paced back and forth behind me, smoking cigarettes and watching the game. I thought about putting him on the air to get his version of what happened with the officials, but when I looked into his eyes I could see he was in no mood to answer questions.

"When the game was over Ralph stayed in my booth while the crowd filed out of the building and I wrapped up my broadcast. All of a sudden, down on the court, there was Michigan State coach John Bennington looking up at us. He had a big smile on his face and hollered, `Hey, Ralph - don't jump!'"

Miller took his advice and did not jump, although his team had lost the game. Instead he stayed around to coach another season at Iowa, taking the Hawkeyes to a perfect (14-0) Big Ten season in which they averaged 103 points a game, a record that still stands.

In 1977 the Hawkeye coach was Lute Olson and the opponent was Purdue at Iowa Fieldhouse, at that time one of the most raucous arenas in college basketball. The officials hit Lute with two technicals - they said he swore at them. Lute said after the game that was not true because he never used profanity, and I would vouch for that. I never heard him swear in private or public.





The most amusing technical foul I can recall involved Iowa's George Raveling, a demonstrative coach on the bench. One night at Carver-Hawkeye he showed his displeasure with an official's call by leaping to his feet, throwing his hands in the air, and running off the court, disappearing into the tunnel.

That behavior earned him a tech, and he explained his behavior after the game this way: "I had a sudden urge to go to the toilet."



He left no doubt about the third technical, however - the one that got him ejected from the game. He threw a water bottle about 50 feet down the court, and when it hit the floor it went SPLAT! I mean, you could have made that call from the upper deck. Lute was T'd up and banished from the bench.

The Hawkeyes lost that game, but in 1979 Olson coached them to a share of the Big Ten championship. The next season he led them to the Final Four, and followed that with three straight second-place Big Ten finishes and NCAA berths.

The only coach I recall being ejected at Carver-Hawkeye Arena sat on the visitors' bench. In 1991 Gene Keady of Purdue was tossed with about five minutes left in the game and Iowa holding a slim lead. The capacity crowd gave him a thunderous goodbye as he exited up the tunnel.

As Iowa's sports information director, I thought he ought to have a place to watch the rest of the game, so I led him into the press room and turned on the television set. He sat down and with his usual intensity started talking to his players as if they could hear him, saying things like "Hit that shot!" and "Guard somebody!"

I thought it was pretty amusing until his players started to follow his instructions. The Boilermakers came back and won the game with their coach shouting instructions at the TV. Keady is the most successful coach in Purdue history and the court at Mackey Arena is named in his honor.

The most amusing technical foul I can recall involved Iowa's George Raveling, a demonstrative coach on the bench. One night at Carver-Hawkeye he showed his displeasure with an official's call by leaping to his feet, throwing his hands in the air, and running off the court, disappearing into the tunnel.

That behavior earned him a tech, and he explained his behavior after the game this way: "I had a sudden urge to go to the toilet."

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