Matt Gatens is coming home. The former Hawkeye forward is returning to Iowa to join Fran McCaffery’s staff as an assistant coach, the program announced Thursday.

“I am thrilled and truly honored to be rejoining the Iowa men’s basketball program,” Gatens said via the team website. “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.”

Gatens, an Iowa City native, was a 4-year starter for the Hawkeyes from 2009-to-2012. During his Hawkeye career, Gatens was a 2-time All-Big Ten selection, 2-time team captain, 2-time academic all-conference honoree, recipient of the 2012 Chris Street Award, and voted to the 2009 Big Ten All-Freshman team.

After his time at Iowa, Gatens played professionally in France, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine. He was on the roster for the Iowa Energy, an NBA development league squad, in 2016-17 before suffering an ACL injury that ended his playing career.

Gatens got into coaching as a staff member at Auburn, working in travel, development, scouting, video and camps for the Tigers. The past 4 seasons (2019-22), Gatens was on Drake’s coaching staff. He served as director of operations his first 2 years before being elevated to an assistant coach the last 2 seasons. While Gatens was on staff, Drake notched 4-straight 20-win seasons (95 combined wins), the 2019 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title, an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2021, and 2 Missouri Valley Tournament championship game appearances.

Gatens fills the position previously occupied by Kirk Speraw, who announced his retirement from coaching last month.

“We are excited to have Matt Gatens rejoin our program as an assistant coach,” McCaffery said in an Iowa 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.”