Yes, we know. Two Iowa State Basketball coaches have gone to the Bulls and underperformed. We get it.
Fred Hoiberg was Iowa State’s golden boy. He played in many big games during his time in Ames., then would go on to have a decent NBA career, only to be derailed by a heart issue. Ultimately he would end up in the Timberwolves front office before being called to home in 2010 by Jamie Pollard.
Hoiberg would go on to bring back Hilton Magic to the Cyclone faithful. Over a five season span, Hoiberg’s Cyclones would be right in the middle of things in the Big 12 race. Winning back-to-back Big 12 Tournament Titles in 2014 and 2015. Hoiberg would also win Co-Coach of the Year in the Big 12 in 2012.
During his time in Ames he changed the landscape in college basketball forever by implementing the transfer method of building the program. A method that we see almost every school today, taking full advantage of.
Following Iowa State’s second Big 12 Tournament Title win of the Hoiberg era, Iowa State would lose to UAB in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Adding to a very long list of Cyclone heartaches. Not many knew what was about to go down over the course of the summer.
Fast forward to the NBA Playoffs. The Bulls were once again in the hunt for a deep playoff run. The Bulls had always been one of best defensive teams in the NBA under Tom Thibodeau, but they just could not seem to get over the hump and take down Lebron James. The Bulls would go on to fire Thibodeau right after their playoff exit.
The rumors started to swirl that Gar Forman (an Iowa State assistant during Holberg’s playing days at Iowa State) would be calling Hoiberg to come back to the Bulls this time to coach. The Hoiberg camp was quiet, but suddenly a flight from Ames to Chicago appeared on the schedule at the Ames Municipal Airport.
This would be the last time we saw Fred Hoiberg as the Cyclone head man. He would sign a five year deal to coach the Bulls, and shortly thereafter Steve Prohm was hired to replace him.
Good luck sweet prince. You still need it in Chicago.
NOTE: To be clear, this should not be interpreted as anything remotely suggesting that we aren’t happy to have Steve Prohm in Ames, or that we don’t believe he’s the right man for the job. This is only to recognize the fact that losing Ames’ prodigal son to the NBA during the most successful run in program history is pretty much near-peak Cyclone athletics.