Weeks of rumors and speculation will come to a head Tuesday as Fred Hoiberg is expected to become the 19th coach in Chicago Bulls history, ending his five-year run at the helm of his alma mater in Ames.
When Hoiberg arrived at Iowa State in April 2010, he did so on the heels of four consecutive losing seasons and five straight years without an NCAA tournament appearance. In five years time, the Ames native and former Iowa State All-American took the Cyclones to new heights.
Iowa State, after a .500 season in Hoiberg’s first year, advanced to four consecutive NCAA tournaments and won back-to-back Big 12 postseason titles, both school records. The Cyclones won four NCAA tournament games.
Hoiberg, meanwhile, became the fastest coach to 100 wins in Iowa State history, and leaves with 115 wins to his credit, including 23 against top-25 opponents.
With the success for Hoiberg and Co. came rampant NBA interest and speculation. In recent seasons, Hoiberg was courted by NBA front offices and time and time again turned away the overtures and remained at Iowa State. Yet the 10-year NBA veteran and former front office man with the Minnesota Timberwolves began to up his interest in recent months.
That interest reached a peak in recent weeks when the Bulls were widely expected to fire coach Tom Thibodeau with Hoiberg as management’s top choice to replace him. Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard appeared to have warned fans of the increasing chance Hoiberg might depart with comments in early May and silence did nothing to quell the belief Ames might lose its native son.
Now, during what has been arguably the most successful stretch in program history, Hoiberg is headed to the NBA. In doing so, Hoiberg follows the familiar footsteps of his former coach Tim Floyd, who in July 1998, after four seasons at the helm of the Cyclones, departed to coach the Bulls himself.
Hoiberg’s departure leaves many fans questioning the future of the program, but it also comes when Iowa State is widely expected to have a preseason top-10 team this fall. Pollard is expected to act quickly in filling the hole left by Hoiberg, and assistant T.J. Otzelberger, who returned to Ames in April, is in many circles thought to be the early favorite.
Check back to AllCyclones.com for coverage in the coming days.