I was in the stands last Saturday for the Iowa State-Baylor game in Ames, Iowa.
As I witnessed, there is a new attitude about Iowa State basketball and it’s all because of Fred Hoiberg.
Hoiberg is an Iowa State icon. He grew up in Ames. He spurned major offers from other programs to play college basketball at Iowa State for Johnny Orr. He starred at Iowa State. Fans fondly called him “The Mayor.”
Hoiberg was named coach at his alma mater last spring. The guy brought NBA playing and administrative experience to the job. Hoiberg had zero head coaching experience however.
But Iowa State figured he was “The Mayor.” Why not provide him the keys to the Cyclone car?
Expectations were low. Media people picked Iowa State near the bottom of the Big 12 Conference. Hoiberg needed some coaching experience and some players.
Well, so much for expectation. Iowa State is off to a 14-4 start (1-2 in the conference) and playing with a huge amount of spirit and energy. Not bad for a team that uses only about seven players due to a thin roster of bodies.
Hilton Coliseum was loud and rocking Saturday. Fans have bought into Hoiberg and his team.
The Mayor has definitely returned home.