Iowa coach Fran McCaffery will play the rest of this season with nine scholarship players.
Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central
Longtime Iowa radio broadcaster Gary Dolphin has been suspended from calling the team’s next two men’s basketball contests after critical comments that were inadvertently aired during Tuesday’s Hawkeye win over Pitt.
The announcement was made by Learfield Sports Properties, which broadcasts Hawkeye sports events.
Dolphin, in his 22nd season as the Hawkeye play-by-play announcer, apologized on air after Tuesday’s game when it came to his attention that his words during a commercial break were heard by radio listeners.
Dolphin was talking with his broadcast partner, former Hawkeye player Bobby Hansen, about how well Pitt’s freshmen guards were playing in the first half.
“How do we not get anybody like that?” Dolphin said. “It’s just year after year after year. Go get a quality piece like that. Just get one! They’ve got three or four.”
Hansen, who was not suspended, seemed to agree with Dolphin, echoing: “Go get a key piece like that.”
But Dolphin compounded matters by singling out Iowa junior guard Maishe Dailey. Dailey had four points and one turnover Tuesday.
“We get Maishe Dailey,” Dolphin said in a tone of disgust. “Dribbles into a double-team with his head down. God.”
After the game, Dolphin said: “We want them to win so bad, sometimes we get frustrated when they’re not playing well in certain stretches.”
Iowa rallied to beat Pitt 69-68 and remain unbeaten on the season. The No. 15 Hawkeyes open Big Ten Conference play with a 7 p.m. home game Friday against Wisconsin before traveling to Michigan State for a 5:30 p.m. game Monday. Learfield will announce Dolphin’s replacement for those games later.
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta was made aware of Dolphin’s comments during the game and had a statement ready to be issued as soon as it was over saying he would “evaluate the comments” after listening to the audio.
In a news release Wednesday, Barta said: “Gary knows we are extremely disappointed in the comment he made about Maishe Dailey and the impact his remark had on our players and staff. 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. This time away from the microphone will allow a chance to work through some of these issues. I truly appreciate the time and energy Gary puts into promoting Hawkeye athletics.”
Dolphin is also the play-by-play voice of Iowa football. He hosts the weekly in-season call-in shows for Hawkeye football coach Kirk Ferentz and men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery.
“We unfortunately encountered a technical error at our network broadcast operations center that allowed off-air comments to be aired during a portion of the first-half commercial break,” Learfield Vice President-Broadcast Operations Tom Boman said in the news release. “We thoroughly reviewed the situation here at our Broadcast Ops center to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and we’ve also been communicating closely with Gary Barta and his administration, the entire broadcast team and our local Hawkeye Sports Properties staff.”