AMES — The Fred Hoiberg era is official over at Iowa State. “The Mayor” met with approximately 25 members of the Iowa media on Friday afternoon for the final time before he begins full-time duties as head coach of the Chicago Bulls.
Hoiberg’s exit from Ames was anything but smooth. After undergoing open-heart surgery in April, rumors began to swirl that he would be replacing Tom Thibodeau as the head coach of the Bulls. Like a bad dream, the Hoiberg speculation (AKA, #HoibergWatch) went on for days, even weeks.
During that time, fans and media alike had plenty of questions.
On Friday, Hoiberg answered many of them.
Q: When Hoiberg signed an extension with Iowa State in 2013, he was quoted saying that he wanted to retire here. What changed?
"Obviously, I would have been very happy being here for my entire career. I wasn’t lying about that. I really would have. There have been a lot of things out there like, ‘Well, he talked to these teams.’ Well, 11 teams have called me the last three years. I never really let them get anywhere except for this last one with Chicago. I wouldn’t have left this opportunity for very many situations. Chicago obviously was one of them that I would at least entertain. As we continued to talk and looking at the roster and looking at that team, looking at a city that I was familiar with and an organization that I was familiar with and knowing people. I spoke to a group at the United Center last week and I knew 20 people in that room. That at least brings some familiarity to the situation as opposed to walking into something completely new."
One interesting note that came from that question…
Hoiberg admitted to talking to another college “a couple of years ago.” That was Minnesota.
“A couple of years ago, I did talk to another college team,” Hoiberg said. “At that time, I realized and I think if you look at the way my contract was structured, I wasn’t going to leave Iowa State for another college. I realized that at that time that it was so good here, so comfortable here."
Q: Who does Hoiberg want to replace him as Iowa State’s head coach?
Hoiberg on the search process…
“I know those guys are going to do a thorough search on it. Jamie is going to make the right choice for Iowa State, not only for next year but for the long term. He will do a tremendous job with that.”
“It’s obviously going to be a wide range of different types of coaches and different personalities. People with head coaching experience and people without head coaching experience. That’s the thing that I know when Jamie and Dr. Leath are involved in the interview process, what are the characteristics that will make for the candidate to have long term success here?”
Why leave Iowa State now?
“I don’t know if there ever would be a good time to leave but what I’m comfortable with is the health of the Iowa State basketball program is really good right now. Whoever is named the head coach whenever that happens, is coming into a great situation. It’s a team that I think is built to compete at the championship level and will be able to jump into a great situation and be able to put a style of play in and continue to recruit the type of player that you have to have to be able to compete for Big 12 championships and for national championships. I guess it is similar to my last year when Johnny stepped aside and when Tim stepped in. We had six seniors on that team. There are four seniors on this team that will all be huge parts of the success of this group next year. That gave Tim an opportunity to come in and have success with our group and continue to recruit at a high level. That gives the next guy who comes in here a great opportunity. That I am at peace with, absolutely.”
“A big thing was getting Paige through high school. After talking with some teams last year, it didn’t matter what situation came about. We wouldn’t have left last year because we wanted to get Paige through high school. Now that that’s happened, it has allowed us I think to get a little bit further along with the talks in this situation.”
“Jack going into his junior year, that’s not an easy year to move. But he’s fully on board with it. He’s excited about it. We did spend a few years in Chicago, which gives us some familiarity with that area. He’s excited about the move and so are the twins. I guess it’s a little easier with the twins because you’ve got your built in buddy. They are excited about this opportunity and once we got to that brand new practice facility that the Bulls have and I saw them in there shooting and everything, it was pretty fun to see.”