Matt Gatens named Iowa men’s basketball assistant coach

Head coach Fran McCaffery announced the hire Thursday. Gatens played for the Hawkeyes from 2009-12.


Shivansh Ahuja

Teams huddle during a timeout during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, March 7, 2021. The Hawkeyes, celebrating senior day, defeated the Badgers, 77-73.

Chris Werner, Summer Sports Editor

Former Iowa men’s basketball player Matt Gatens was hired as an assistant men’s basketball coach Thursday. 

He will replace Kirk Speraw, who announced his retirement last month. 

We are excited to have Matt Gatens rejoin our program as an assistant coach,” head coach Fran McCaffery said in a release. “Matt was a respected leader on my first two teams as Iowa’s head coach. I could tell right away that he exhibited all the necessary attributes to be a successful coach. Since transitioning to the coaching profession, Matt has gained valuable experience working on the staffs at Auburn and Drake. He will have an immediate impact on our program.”

Gatens, from Iowa City, was a starter for the Hawkeyes from 2009-12 and had a well-decorated college career. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection, two-time team captain, and the recipient of the 2012 Chris Street Award, among others. 

Gatens’ 1,635 career points and 239 3-pointers are good for 10th and third in Iowa history. 

Before he was hired by McCaffery, Gatens spent the last four seasons coaching at Drake. He was an assistant coach for the Bulldogs for the last two years. Gatens was a part of the Auburn coaching staff before joining Drake.

I am thrilled and truly honored to be rejoining the Iowa men’s basketball program,” Gatens said in a release. “I have an incredible amount of respect for what coach McCaffery, his staff, and players have built in Iowa City. It’s a privilege to now work for my former coach and someone who I have looked up to since he started here 12 years ago. I’m looking forward to representing Hawkeye Nation and competing for championships in a place that I call home. I can’t wait to proudly wear the Black and Gold once again.”

Following his college career, Gatens played professionally overseas before an injury ended his career during the 2016-17 season. Gatens played in France, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States during his last year. 

In 2008, as a high school senior at City High, Gatens led his team to a 4A state championship. That year, was named Iowa “Mr. Basketball” and honored as Iowa’s Gatorade Player of the Year. 

Gatens is still the top scorer in City High history. 

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