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Nebraska Announces Fred Hoiberg as Nebrasketball Head Coach

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The former Iowa State and Bulls head coach returns to Lincoln, where he was born.

Iowa State v Ohio State Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Reports Saturday morning indicated that the hire of former Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg as the 28th head coach of the men’s basketball team is close to being official.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Nebraska made it official.

As before with the Scott Frost and Mike Leach hires, Bill Moos and his athletic department seem fairly apt at running interference, despite the leaky nature of the 21st century. Recall that Bill Moos indicated it could take up to a fortnight to identify the hire. Here we are, 5 days later, and Bill Moos appears to have his man. As of right now, it appears Hoiberg will be introduced formally on Tuesday, but a press release announcement may appear shortly now that the cat is more or less out of the bag and scratching up the carpet.

Hoiberg is the grandson of former Nebraska basketball head coach Jerry Bush (1954-1963). While he was born in Lincoln, Hoiberg’s formative years were spent in Ames, Iowa. Despite recieving a scholarship offer to play quarterback for Tom Osborne, the former Iowa “Mr. Basketball” instead chose a successful basketball career with his hometown Cyclones (1991-1995), culminating in his All-Big 8 selection in 1995. He also received write-in votes during the 1993 election for mayor in Ames, leading to his nickname, “the Mayor”. (If you want to really annoy Iowa State fans, refer to him as the Mayor as much as possible in non-Iowa State contexts.)

Following his time at Iowa State, he was drafted by the Indiana Pacers of the NBA in its 1995 draft. In 1999, Hoiberg was signed by the Chicago Bulls, and in 2003 he joined the Minnesota Timberwolves. He retired in 2006 following a successful aortic valve replacement.

He spent the next four years in the front office for the Timberwolves. In 2010, Hoiberg was introduced as Iowa State’s newest coach, replacing Greg McDermott of Jaysker fame. Over the next five seasons, Hoiberg would aggressively scour the transfer market to renovate a dismal Iowa State squad, taking the Cyclones to four NCAA tournaments, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2014. ISU’s trip to the tournament in 2012 was its first since 2005.

In 2015, Hoiberg left Iowa State to take the vacant head coach position for the Chicago Bulls. After three dismal seasons as the head coach, Hoiberg was dismissed in December 2018.

Hoiberg is expected to bring Matt Abdelmassih (currently at St. John’s) as an assistant coach. Abdelmassih (Ab-del-massey) is considered an integral component of Hoiberg’s aggressive approach to the transfer market from his Iowa State days. I’d expect Hoiberg and Abdelmassih to overhaul Nebraska’s roster for 2019 and beyond through similar means.

Hoiberg’s immediate recruiting job, however? Convincing Isaiah Roby another year of seasoning would be beneficial to his NBA career - though its hard to argue getting paid real money vs Monopoly money.

Anyways, here’s some perspectives on Hoiberg from his Iowa State days:

How Fred Hoiberg became too big for Iowa State

Perception and Reality With or Without Hoiberg

What Is Fred Hoiberg Worth To Iowa State Basketball?

Fred Hoiberg left behind a loaded roster at Iowa State

As I said above, these reports are preliminary and subject to change, but we’re gagging on the smoke for this fire.

On paper, this is a great hire. This is the type of game-changing hire (and I suspect the money will reflect that) that can finally deliver Nebraska a NCAA tournament win, and perhaps so much more.

This is the big time program we’ve been waiting on, folks. Nebraska has finally joined the 21st century. Buckle up.

UPDATE:

In Nebraska’s official announcement, Hoiberg discussed his reasons for accepting the job at Nebraska:

“First, I want to thank Bill Moos, Chancellor Green and President Bounds for the opportunity to lead the Nebraska men’s basketball program,” Hoiberg said. “I can’t express how excited I am to be back on the sidelines and to be coaching at a university that means a lot to my family and me.

“Lincoln is a special place for our family. I was born in Lincoln, my grandfather Jerry Bush was the head coach at Nebraska, my other grandfather was a long-time professor there, and my parents are proud graduates of the University of Nebraska. Nebraska has always felt like a second home.

“I had the opportunity to coach at Pinnacle Bank Arena with the Bulls, and I have seen first-hand that the facilities are as nice as any in the country. When you couple that with a loyal and passionate fan base, you can see there is great potential for the future of Nebraska basketball.”

Nebraska also announced that Moos will formally introduce Hoiberg at a press conference at 3 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.