Cyclone Nation was dealt a tough blow on June 2nd when it learned that beloved coach Fred Hoiberg was leaving to take the head coaching position for the Chicago Bulls. I was bummed out as I’ve grown to admire this guy more and more each year. There are so many things to like about Fred. He is the home town boy who made good. He turned down offers to play basketball for Lute Olson at the University of Arizona and quarterback for the University of Notre Dame and the University of Nebraska so he could build success with the Cylcones in the city he grew up in, Ames, IA. He had a great college career. Then he went on to have a successful career in the NBA as a player and in the front office of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He married his high school sweetheart and has four children. My sister Kim and her husband Dan Greder know the Hoiberg’s through their children’s school and say they are the nicest, most down to earth people you would ever want to meet.
Following his experience with the NBA, Iowa State asked him to return to be its men’s basketball coach. Within five years he created one of the more successful collegiate basketball programs in the country and is highly respected by other coaches and beloved by his players, the fans, and the media. In addition, I would vigorously argue his demeanor, class, character, and style most closely rivals the greatest college basketball coach of all time – John Wooden. Hallmark or Disney could not have scripted a more storybook scenario. It is hard to fathom how all of these great things could have happened to Fred Hoiberg and Iowa State University. Iowa State fans were so excited to see what 2015-2016 would bring as many believe this may be the most talented team he has ever had.
Alas, the Chicago Bulls offered an attractive opportunity Fred was interested in and were able to persuade him to leave his alma mater. This was no easy task as Fred was having great success, loves Iowa State and loves his hometown.
As a testament to his character and how much respect others have for him, the overwhelming sentiment has been “we are sad to lose such a great coach and person and we hope he enjoys great success with the Chicago Bulls”. Quite often when a coach opts out of his contract the fans are mad, bitter, and feel betrayed. In this case, people are sad, accepting, and grateful for what Fred did for Iowa State.
So now what for Iowa State men’s basketball? We can mourn and grieve for a short while but that doesn’t do anything good for the team, the fans, and the community. We can wonder what 2015-2016 would have been like if Fred had stayed on as coach but that would be wasted effort. We need to move on NOW!
Iowa State has learned much from Fred Hoiberg and should incorporate this experience into making its next hire. The fans should reflect on the positive experience with Fred and support his successor in an attempt to recreate or keep alive all of the momentum that has been built over the past 5 years. It is hard to imagine someone better than Fred Hoiberg coming along and maybe it won’t happen -but maybe it will?
Roger Bannister was the first to break the 4 minute mile barrier – a number of others have since eclipsed his time.
Babe Ruth set a seemingly impossible home run record until Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds came along.
Who could possibly replace Dr. J? Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Lebron James?
Roger Staubach and Terry Bradshaw were legendary QB’s in the NFL – could there be any better? Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning?
Dan Gable set a standard so high that it seemed untouchable (and arguably is given his talent in wrestling AND coaching) but Cael Sanderson’s story is not yet finished.
My point is that it is time for Iowa State to look forward and not backward. It is a great university with a wonderful basketball program, a unique “Hilton Magic” environment, and a passionate fan base. As a big fan of the basketball program, I’m hoping it will rise even higher in the future.
So, what about you and me? What setbacks or losses are we stewing over and lamenting how it is going to be tougher to be successful in the future? It’s time to turn out the lights on any pity parties that may be occurring. It is time to get back to work, be creative and resourceful, and build the foundation, family, relationships, business, or plan that will make you happy and successful.
Success is MOVING ON!