Fred Hoiberg is confident he can overcome a lack of coaching experience in his efforts to turn the Iowa State basketball program around. The former Cyclone star was introduced as the new I.S.U. coach, two days after Greg McDermott resigned to take the job at Creighton.
Hoiberg is the third leading scorer in Iowa State history and first approached Athletic Director Jamie Pollard about becoming the head coach four years ago before McDermott was hired away from U.N.I.. Pollard says he called Hoiberg last Sunday and asked him if he was interested, and he says Hoiberg told him he was interested and had a plan. Pollard said Hoiberg said the plan would address concerns about his lack of coaching experience. Pollard said he told Hoiberg he would call him before anyone else if McDermott decided to leave.
Hoiberg retired from the NBA in 2006 and since then has been working in the front office for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Hoiberg says he can’t even explain how excited he is to take the job. “There’s gonna be nights in the next year where we might not be making shots as a team, but I promise you one thing, we are gonna to defend, we’re gonna play hard, and we’re going to give you something to cheer about on a nightly basis,” Hoiberg says.
Hoiberg says he always hoped he would one day return to coach the Cyclones. He says he’s always wanted to coach and in the past few years had a couple of opportunities to leave the front office and coach for the N.B.A., but decided to stay where he was. Hoiberg says he “was floored” when Pollard called him and asked if he might be interested in the job. Hoiberg says Pollard drove up and they sat and talked for about three hours about his plan.
Hoiberg says he thought the talk went very well and he thought he might get a second interview when Pollard put a contract on the table.
Hoiberg has been talking with former Cyclone coach Tim Floyd about putting a staff together. T.J. Otzelberger is staying on and will be the associate head coach and former Cyclone great Jeff Grayer will be part of the staff as well. Grayer was hired by McDermott last week.
Hoiberg says he knows his biggest obstacle is getting a staff in place that will help him out and give him something to lean on. He says Floyd will put together of a list of people to call. Hoiberg has already had a chance to meet the current members of the team.
He says they met at 10:30 last night and he laid out some of his initial expectations. Hoiberg says he told them if they show a strong work ethic, if they defend and play their tails off every second they are on the floor, they can play for him. He says he will communicate with them and let them know what he expects every day. “They may not always like what I have to say, but I feel that is the best way to go about it in this business,” Hoiberg says.
Hoiberg wants to bring the energy back to the program that was there when he played. “I want that atmosphere back, I need that atmosphere back, and it’s time to bring the magic back to Hilton Coliseum,” Hoiberg said as the crowd applauded.
Hoiberg says his health has been good. He retired as a player after undergoing heart surgery back in 2006. He says he will have to have another heart surgery at some time, and he says as far as heart surgeries go, it will be pretty routine. Hoiberg says he hopes that surgery is years away. He says his aortic valve has started to deteriorate a little, but it should not impact his job.