Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fred Hoiberg and the Iowa State Marriage

Fred Hoiberg has come a long way since his days as Iowa State’s ball boy.

Hoiberg recently agreed to an eight-year contact to continue as Iowa State’s coach. His new deal will take effect after the 2013 season and pay him about $1.5 million per year. Not bad for a guy who previously tracked down player’s basketballs and helped clean-up the floor.

If there is such a thing as a perfect match, Hoiberg and Iowa State are one. Hoiberg grew up in Ames and handled ball-boy duties at a young age. He later starred at Ames High School in both football and basketball. He chose to play basketball at Iowa State, spurning former Iowa basketball coach Lute Olson at Arizona. He was such a popular player for the Cyclones he was nicknamed the “Mayor.”

He returned to Ames a couple years ago as the Cyclones new basketball coach. It didn’t matter that Hoiberg had zero head coaching experience. The philosophy “he is one of us” trumped any misgivings of how the wonder boy would perform as coach.

Two years into this project, the fans love affair with the local boy couldn’t be greater. Hoiberg’s first team was competitive and developed great fan interest. The second team exceeded all expectations. The Cyclones tied for third place in the Big 12 Conference standings and won a game in the NCAA tournament. They lost to eventual champion Kentucky in the third round.

The Mayor has Iowa State fans thinking big things. The Iowa State athletic administration is thinking big things too. That’s why it gave the local boy an eight-year contract.

There is much joy in Iowa State basketball land. You got to believe, Hoiberg is the most joyous of the group.

No comments: