Budmayr, a senior special assistant to the Iowa head coach, was on Wisconsin’s staff when McNamara received his first Power Five offer from the Badgers in 2017.
A select number of Iowa football players met with members of the media Thursday for the first time this spring at the Hansen Football Performance Center in Iowa City. Among them: new quarterback Cade McNamara.
McNamara — who spent the last four seasons in Michigan, starting in 2021 and beating Iowa in the Big Ten title game but was benched early in the 2022 season in favor of JJ McCarthy — joined the transfer portal on Nov. 28, 2022 and Iowa committed on December 1, 2022.
RELATED: Former Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara transfers to Iowa’s football program
The first question everyone asked when McNamara was made available for questions Thursday: Why Iowa?
The response to the grad move from Reno, Nevada was long and multifaceted, but he cited a relationship with head coach Jon Budmayr’s Iowa senior special assistant as the main reason.
Budmayr was on the Wisconsin Badgers’ offensive coaching staff from 2015-2020 and was a quality control coach for the Badgers when Wisconsin made McNamara its first Power Five scholarship offer in 2017.
Budmayr coached the Badgers’ QBs from 2018-20.
“We both have an understanding of how we work,” McNamara said of Budmayr. “He knows my expectations and I know his expectations for this season. There’s an urgency between the two of us, and I think we’re very similar in that regard, and that’s impacted our relationship as quarterbacks and quarterbacks coaches. It was great because we already have really good chemistry so I can talk to him about anything and he’s able to be honest with me straight away. I value myself and his relationship very much and I know it will continue to grow.”
McNamara also said the Hawkeye brand is something he wants to be a part of.
“I mean, overall the reputation that this program has, I mean, I’ve played them and I know what the brand looks like from the outside, it’s something that’s very respected around the conference and around the country,” he said McNamara. “I just think this place is something special. And I think coaches [Kirk] Ferentz has an incredible reputation. When I finally got to know him, I realized how much respect he has not just from the program but from everyone in the community, which is great.”
The 6-foot-1 McNamara also pointed to the pride many Iowa natives have on the roster for the program as something he quickly noticed.
“What really struck me is my teammates’ pride in being from Iowa and playing for Iowa,” McNamara said. “It’s been said over and over again, ‘We don’t have a professional team here in Iowa.’ And the level of seriousness that comes with playing here at varsity is really special to the guys, and we have a lot of guys from Iowa and they’re very proud of it.
“To me,” McNamara added, “it’s honestly quite inspiring how caring these guys are. A lot of my teammates grew up as Iowa fans and want to represent black and gold the way they saw it as a kid…It’s something I’m really happy to be a part of.”
McNamara noted an underdog mentality as part of the program as another attractive aspect of the Hawkeyes’ identity.
“What I’ve been starting to realize is that this is a program that you put on your shoulders,” McNamara said. “I think that was very intriguing for me too… I think I’m coming in well and I think I’ll just constantly try to do whatever it takes to make sure I can prove myself to my teammates and my coaches.”
McNamara said a successful season in Iowa would result in a Big Ten championship.