Iowa State men’s basketball: Thank you, Fred Hoiberg
Fred Hoiberg, also known as “The Mayor” or just simply “Dreamy,” has left the love of his life. He moves on from Iowa State and the city of Ames to try and capture his dream of running an NBA team, the Chicago Bulls. It’s a bittersweet moment considering the choice Hoiberg had to make, and just like all the nutpunches Iowa State athletics has received in its history, this is certainly one of the biggest.
Let’s try to put it all into perspective. At the end, perhaps we can all give our well wishes to Hoiberg.
It’s OK for the fans to be both happy and upset about the move. Everything was set up for another great season in men’s basketball. Iowa State was a preseason top 10 team unanimously. They were a national title contender again. Why would anyone want to leave such a great opportunity?
Specifically, why would Hoiberg want to? “The Mayor” has a free pass for life in Ames. If there’s ever a rough patch in the long term, the fans that love him will drown out the losers on message boards that want to spit out their hot takes that the Cyclones would be better off to fire one of their loyal sons.Mar 14, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg celebrates after the win over the Kansas Jayhawks during the championship game of the Big 12 tournament at Sprint Center. Iowa State Cyclones won 70-66. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Besides, Hoiberg still has kids that are growing up and just went through open heart surgery. We know he has a passion for the NBA, but surely he’ll wait until the full recovery or when his kids are all in college to live out that dream. I mean, as long as things are great at ISU, he’ll always be a candidate for a pro gig, right?
Hoiberg understands all of this and took it into consideration whenever he was making the decision. He had to make the choice between letting down a strong, passionate fanbase or delay his dream job. When an opening came for the Bulls, there was also added emphasis of a great situation. The Bulls are a title contender; this isn’t the Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Hornets, or Sacramento Kings. This is even better than the Minnesota Timberwolves job where there’s hope with lots of talented young players, but nothing that’s been established.
It truly is the equivalent of leaving a solid relationship to pursue something bigger. Hoiberg is the established person that is ready to move on, and the Iowa State fanbase was the partner holding him back.
There was no cheating or deceiving involved. Some Iowa State fans are trying to find reasons to be pissed off at Hoiberg. There’s been the obnoxious topics such as he never said a word about it or he knew he couldn’t elevate the team to the next level or if he’s still “The Mayor” or not — your typical vomit-spewing BS on message boards. It’s OK to be angry, but not at “Dreamy.”
This wasn’t the Gene Chizik scenario where he was running to the plane that took him to Auburn and the exit interview looked like somebody had to tie him up in place to actually say a few words about the football program he was ditching. Be upset at the potential there was. Be upset that it ended way too soon. Be upset that Hoiberg didn’t want to be your Coach K.
But how he handled it? Hoiberg knew how hard it would be for Cyclone Nation to take, and he clearly did the right thing considering how nuts everybody became. Honestly, it would have been tough to pull away at any time and the reaction would have been the same. There were two great scenarios for him, and he just took the one we didn’t want to hear.
Hoiberg grew up in Ames and there will always be love in his heart for Iowa State. Regardless of if the program continues to succeed or falls off the wagon and into McDermott Era 2, in time we will all move on. Some people will accept that faster than others.Dec 31, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg smiles after his team defeats the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State won 83-33. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
There will be enough speculation in the future as to whether he made the right move. There’s certainly some concern in how the Bulls’ front office functions and on if Hoiberg will thrive at the next level. Right now, I don’t know how that chapter plays out, but I’ll be as confident in him as I was when he was running the ship in Ames. I’ll definitely be rooting for him, and you should be too.
Why? He didn’t leave on bad terms. The ugly taste of a first-round loss in the NCAA tournament to UAB, who we didn’t even know had a basketball team much less the
now-defunct football program, will make the players and us sick until well into next season. However, I wouldn’t consider that any sort of a turning point.
Hoiberg was already going to the NBA at some point; it just became a matter of when. Unfortunately, that answer came a lot sooner than we were expecting. But instead of wondering what if, I just have to thank him for five years of wonderful memories. He put Iowa State basketball back on the map. He had a fun style of basketball to watch. He brought in memorable characters, both good and bad, on the court. I, and we, should all cherish that forever.
Now, Hoiberg leaves a great position for somebody else to take the helm. You can guarantee that as I root for his success in Chicago, he’ll be doing the same rooting for the next man up with the Cyclones.