113. Margaret McCaffery: Wild At Heart (Part 2)

We are here again with special guest, Margaret McCaffery (it’s her birthday today!) for part two of this memorable interview.  Margaret shares her journey of motherhood and her passion as an advocate for cancer research and awareness.

Today we discuss:

  • Margaret’s law school experience that included a wedding on Independence Day, the cancer diagnosis of her father in law, and a new baby.
  • The honor of walking the stage to receive her law degree at Notre Dame with her first son in her arms and the village that supported her.
  • Her instinctual choice to focus on motherhood and spending time with her young sons, and how this was in line with the lessons she was taught by wise women in her life to honor herself wherever she focused her energy.
  • Navigating the highs and lows of each basketball season and the joys and challenges of having their sons on the team.
  • How allowing and supporting her children to make their own decisions about their lives was inspired by her grandmother.
  • Navigating their son Patrick’s cancer journey at 13, and the priorities and commitments that changed as the family confronted their new reality.
  • Patrick’s recovery and her commitment to raising funds and advocating for cancer awareness while helping to start the adolescent and young adult cancer program at the University of Iowa.
  • Her national recognition for her volunteer efforts with the National American Cancer Society and their work with the Coaches vs. Cancer program.



Margaret McCaffrey is often referred to as University of Iowa Basketball coach Fran McCaffrey’s wife, but she is a legend in her own right.  Margaret was a stellar athlete and played basketball for Muffet McGraw at Notre Dame in the early 90’s. Post graduation, she intended to go to law school at the University of Minnesota, but was called by Coach McGraw to join the coaching staff at ND. It was there she met her now husband Fran McCaffrey, and began law school. Margaret is the mother to four children and has supported them in their interests and basketball careers.  In 2014, her son Patrick was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and she spent a year focused on caring for him.  Patrick is now cancer free but the McCaffreys have devoted their philanthropic efforts to fighting cancer. They helped start the adolescent and young adult Cancer program at the university of Iowa and have raised millions of dollars.  In 2022 she received the National American Cancer Society’s distinguished St. George award for being an outstanding volunteer.  She has served on the American Cancer Societies National Board of Directors since 2018, and along with Fran has championed the Coaches vs. Cancer program.