IOWA CITY — Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery made his first public statements Thursday about comments made by Hawkeyes radio play-by-play man Gary Dolphin on Tuesday night.
He made one thing very clear: He’s ready to put the controversy behind him and focus on basketball.
Dolphin was suspended for the next two games by Learfield Broadcasting, which has exclusive radio rights to all Iowa games, after he was critical of Iowa’s recruiting and the play of guard Maishe Dailey during the Hawkeyes’ 69-68 victory over Pittsburgh at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
His comments were made at halftime when he thought he was off the air. However, what he said was inadvertently heard by listeners and struck a nerve with people in the Iowa athletic department.
"Really disappointing," McCaffery said. "I was disappointed in those comments. I think when one of our own attacks one of our players the way he did, it's inexcusable.
"It's over. We dealt with it. And we're moving on. Getting ready for Wisconsin."
Dolphin referred to how well three freshman guards played for Pittsburgh in the first half and asked “How do we not get anybody like that?”
He later added: "We get Maishe Dailey. ... He dribbles into a double-team with his head down. God."
McCaffery said he spoke to his players about the comments and also had a one-on-one conversation with Dailey.
"It was incredibly unfair," McCaffery said. "(Dailey) has played extremely well for us. He plays hard. He's a good person. He didn't deserve it. But he's also a young guy with tremendous character. So I've been really impressed with him and how he's handled everything."
After Learfield announced its suspension of Dolphin on Wednesday, the Iowa athletic department possibly made the situation worse.
A quote from athletic director Gary Barta in an official university news release noted: "The two-game suspension is a result of those comments, as well as some ongoing tensions that have built up over the past couple of years."
Barta is not expected to be made available to the media until today, but McCaffery addressed that comment Thursday.
"I think it's fairly well known we've had some issues," he said. "But we've gotten along fine."
Former WQAD sports anchor Jim Albracht will handle play-by-play duties for Friday's game with Wisconsin as Dolphin serves his suspension.