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IOWA Magazine | 11-11-2022

Matt Gatens is Back on the Iowa Basketball Sidelines

2 minute read
The Iowa City native and former All-Big Ten player is the latest Hawkeye alumnus to return as an assistant coach.
Matt Gatens Coaching PHOTO: HAWKEYESPORTS.COM Former Hawkeye basketball guard Matt Gatens returned to Iowa this season as an assistant coach.

Iowa City native and former Hawkeye basketball guard Matt Gatens (12BBA) became an assistant Iowa basketball coach this past June, replacing Kirk Speraw (80BBA), who retired after 43 years coaching college basketball.

Matt Gatens Playing Basketball PHOTO: HAWKEYESPORTS.COM

Gatens comes to Iowa after playing professional basketball in Europe and serving as an assistant coach for the Drake teams that won the 2019 Missouri Valley regular season championship and advanced to the 2021 NCAA tournament. “It’s a privilege to now work for my former coach [Fran McCaffery] and someone who I have looked up to since he started here,” Gatens, the son of former Hawkeye Mike Gatens (76BBA), said shortly after being hired. “I’m looking forward to representing Hawkeye nation and competing for championships in a place that I call home.”

Gatens is the latest in a line of former Iowa student-athletes—including head coaches Tom Brands (92BS) of wrestling, Lisa Cellucci (98BA) of field hockey, Sasha Schmid (96BA, 99JD) of tennis, and Tyler Stith (02BBA) of men’s golf—who are leading the next generation of Hawkeyes. Here’s a snapshot of four alumni who have returned to coach in the past two seasons.


Jess Barnett (13BA)

Field hockey, 2009-2012
Then: All-American and team MVP who led Iowa to two-straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearances in 2011 and 2012
Now: Second-year assistant coach who helped guide the Hawkeyes to the 2021 Big Ten regular season title

Jess Barnett

Ladell Betts (01BS)

Football, 1998-2001
Then: Two-time, second-team All-Big Ten and second-leading rusher in school history
Now: Retired NFL player and second-year running backs coach who helped guide the Hawkeyes to the 2021 Big Ten West division title

Ladell Betts

Matt Gatens (12BBA)

Basketball, 2009-2012
Then: Two-time All-Big Ten selection and four-year starter who led the Hawkeyes to postseason play for the first time in six seasons during his senior year
Now: First-year assistant coach who helps with recruiting, opponent scouting, practices, player development, and game preparation

Matt Gatens

Abdul Hodge (05BA)

Football, 2002-2005
Then: Three-time All-Big Ten linebacker who led Iowa to two co-Big Ten titles in 2002 and 2004
Now: Retired NFL player and first-year tight ends coach for Hawkeyes like Sam LaPorta and Luke Lachey

Abdul Hodge

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