On Wednesday morning, Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery awoke at 5 a.m. to take his son to the hospital. Patrick, age 13, was scheduled for surgery to remove a tumor from his thyroid, which would be further tested to determine whether the mass is malignant, and the family arrived at University of Iowa Hospital by 6. After the operation ended, McCaffery spoke to doctors, learned everything had went well and then boarded a plane to Dayton, Ohio. The Hawkeyes’ season was at stake.
Almost 18 hours later, McCaffery was talking about putting things into perspective. Iowa had lost to Tennessee in overtime, 78-65, and the Volunteers advanced into the round of 68 to face sixth-seeded Massachusetts on Friday. Iowa’s year on the court ended in colossal disappointment, with four straight losses and seven over the past eight games.
But Patrick was okay.
“He’s getting prepped for surgery on his neck to remove a tumor, and you’re talking about potential malignancy and things of that nature and you’re saying to yourself, ‘Wow, it puts wins and losses in perspective,’” McCaffery told rpeorters in Dayton at UD Arena, via transcripts from ASAP Sports. “Once he came out of surgery and he was in good shape, I talked with the physician. He was great. We felt really good.”
The Hawkeyes got walloped in overtime after star guard Roy Devyn Marble tied the game at 64-64 on a gutsy jumper with 18 seconds in regulation, and the program still hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game since 2001. Four Volunteers, meanwhile, scored in double figures, including 18 points and 13 rebounds from forward Jarnell Stokes. They won in March Madness for the first time since a Sweet 16 run in 2010, but the revelry was apparently subdued.
Afterward, Tennessee’s players celebrated briefly and turned their attention to the other coach, hugging McCaffery and telling him they were thinking about him.
“Most kids want to run and jump on each other in the locker room,” McCaffery said. “I was really impressed with those guys and the program that Cuonzo [Martin] has built there.”
According to McCaffery, via ASAP Sports, Patrick planned to spend Wednesday night in the hospital with a drain in his neck, and if the fluid buildup wasn’t too great, he could go home. Test results on the tumor, McCaffery said, are scheduled for Monday but the family was hopeful they could come Friday, when Tennessee plays on and McCaffery will be home, with his son.