Fans in Ames are sure to shed some tears today, as the man that rebuilt Iowa State’s basketball program is making the jump from college ball to the NBA. That man is Cyclones alum and former NBA sharpshooter Fred Hoiberg, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the man known as “The Mayor” and the Chicago Bulls have agreed on a five-year deal worth approximately $25 million that will make him the team’s new head coach, per league sources.
Hoiberg will succeed Tom Thibodeau, who went 255-139 in five seasons in the Windy City but could not seem to get the Bulls to the next level despite having strong defensive squads and an MVP-caliber leader (albeit an oft-injured one) in point guard Derrick Rose. In all but one of those five seasons, his first to be exact, Thibodeau’s teams failed to get past the second round of the playoffs. Thibodeau also clashed with team executives.
Enter Hoiberg, who despite not having any NBA coaching experience could very well be an ideal fit for this job. He went 115-56 (49-39 Big 12) in five seasons in Ames and led Iowa State to the Sweet Sixteen in 2014, plus won two Big 12 Championships despite playing in the same conference as strong programs like Kansas and Baylor.
On top of that, Hoiberg spent 10 seasons playing in the NBA, four of which were with the Bulls. He thus knows the city and its fans, and also spent a few years as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ VP of Basketball Operations. Long story short, the man knows how things work in the pros.
Granted, Hoiberg will have to deal with a very demanding fan base that is looking for its first championship since the Michael Jordan Era, and has been perennially disappointed despite having a team with top-level talent on its roster for the past few years. Bulls fans are probably getting impatient, and rightfully so.
But Hoiberg is a fresh face who will bring an even fresher approach to the professional ranks, an area he knows well. Just what kind of system he’ll employ remains to be seen, but he has all of the tools necessary to succeed.
Now, all he has to do is just that, lest he want to have second thoughts about leaving Ames and the warm embrace of Iowa State.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports