April 1, 2005: Fran McCaffery has been named Siena’s 14th head men’s basketball coach . That announcement was made at a 1pm press conference held at the college today. McCaffery had been the head coach at UNC-Greensboro since 1999.
That’s the word right off the CSTV.com website and since we have credited the good folks at CSTV.com now let’s credit coach McCaffery for a job well done at UNCG. The coach graduated all of his players while he was at UNCG. That right a 100% graduation rate and he also was able to lead his team or should I say guide his team to the Southern Conference title and on the NCAA tournament and the Spartans won 20 or more games in a season while coach McCaffery was on board.
So with all that success and a strong track record, and I am not talking about any trips up to Cecil Carr’s second home in Ridgeway, Virginia, you tell me, why did the coach pull up stakes and head off to Siena way up there in New York? Fran was here since back in 1999 and he was also here briefly as player for Wake Forest back in the late 70’s. Fran came here with a huge reputation coming from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Up in Philly Fran was a big name guard known as White Chocolate or maybe it was White Magic. Come to think of it, it was White Magic.
Fran and Gene Banks both had big names coming out of Philly but unlike Gene who stuck around Duke all four years Fran left Wake after only one season. He went back home and attended PENN and had a pretty good run at the Quaker school. Fran only stayed in North Carolina one year his first go around and then he had a much longer run his second time around while coaching at UNCG.
Fran hit the same skid again and it wasn’t a pot hole over Spring Garden street that caused Fran to make a plan to get out of the Gate City and head back home. As soon as the coach achieved any level of success at UNCG he began looking for a job back up in the Northeast. Siena, Drexel, Penn, Fran wanted to get the heck out of the south and get back up north where he felt at home.
Siena is a fine school and I sure Fran and his wife, who he met while he was coaching at Notre Dame and she was on the women’s basketball team, they are glad to be back at home in the Northeast section of the USA. What I am really saying here is that UNCG seems better to me and here we are right in the middle of basketball heaven in North Carolina, and it all tells me that Fran did not want to be in the South for a long period of time to begin with. He did not like it here. He really didn’t want to be here.
Mike Dement on the other hand is now in his second stint as the UNCG head coach. Mike is from Louisburg, North Carolina and was at UNCG in the mid 90’s. Mike likes it at UNCG and he seems to be off to a good start in his second trip with the Spartans. Dement did well in his first stay in Greensboro and was offered the job at SMU in Dallas, Texas. When Fran pulled out, Mike jumped at the chance to come back to the old North State and who wouldn’t.
For coaching or playing basketball this is the place to be and I am sure that Mike was very happy to have another shot at coaching and how can you beat coaching at the Division I level and being back in the Gate City at the same time. Mike Dement built the UNCG program when he was here the first time and the year after he left Randy Peele, Dement’s former assistant and then the head coach, after Dement took off to Dallas, took the Spartans to the NCAA tourney for the first time. Peele took UNCG to the big dance with Dement’s players. Peele had recruited the players as Dement’s asssistant but Dement was the man, The Coach.
Dement has been glad to have Kyle Hines and Ricky Hickman in place over at Flemming Gym and they are two of the area’s best talents and holdovers from Fran’s team. I believe Mike likes it here in Greensboro and probably wishes he had never took off to SMU in the first place. Dement is more of a local prescence and we do like Mike to keep it local and hopefully he will stay at UNCG for many years to come. In the Fran vs. Mike story, Fran was not a Southern man and he wanted to get back home. Mike is from N.C. and he seems to have once again found his way back home. Now get out there and win the Southern Conference championship and get back to the NCAA tournament.
Hopefully this time around at Greensboro Sports we have made some good points and you have been informed and entertained within the same visit. Tell someone about the web site and until next time, take care and talk to you soon. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org