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McCaffrey, Cooley share memories of coaching in Buffalo

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery went 10-1 against Canisius in his time at Siena. (University of Iowa athletics)

The memories are back for two coaches being back in Buffalo.

Providence head coach Ed Cooley and Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery are both former MAAC head coaches, with Cooley running Fairfield from 2006-2011 and McCaffery at Siena from 2005-2010, won three conference championships from 2008-10 and won a pair of NCAA tournament games with the Saints.

Both Cooley and McCaffery spoke of their time in the MAAC during the pre-NCAA tournament press conferences downtown ahead of Thursday’s first-round games, which will put Cooley’s Friars against South Dakota State and McCaffery’s Hawkeyes against Richmond.

“I think it’s a great league. It’s a league that has prepared a lot of coaches, many of which have coached in the Big East. It allows you to grow and develop without the, quote, unquote, heavy pressure of major, major crowds, probably with the exception of Siena, who has a pretty great fanbase.” Cooley said. “Then coming up here and playing two games against Niagara and Canisius. You always say that if you can sweep this in the MAAC, you’re probably going to be off to a good start.”

While Cooley was at Fairfield, the Stags went 10-1 against Canisius, including a conference tournament victory in 2010.

McCaffery added, “We’d come up, obviously, once a year to play Canisius and Niagara. That was always a difficult road trip. A lot of times heading to Buffalo we treated it like a tournament in a lot of ways.”

McCaffery mentioned that before they came downtown to KeyBank Center, Iowa practiced at Canisius’ Koessler Athletic Center.

During his time at Siena, McCaffery had an identical 10-1 record against the Griffs, which also included a conference tournament win, this one coming in 2009.

Against each other, McCaffrey and the Saints had an 8-2 upper hand, including two conference tournament games, one of them being the 2010 MAAC final. If both Providence and Iowa win Thursday, it will set up another meeting between the pair, just like old times.

“Really, really good league,” Cooley said. “Fond memories of it.”

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