Yet again, an Iowa State head coach is the hot topic of coaching rumors swirling around the world of college athletics. This time, Fred Hoiberg is that man.
Cyclone fans got their scare, legitimate or not, with Paul Rhoads and Wisconsin in December. These two situations appear to be very similar.
According to this piece of solid reporting by Travis Hines at the Ames Tribune, the University of Minnesota, who recently parted ways with Tubby Smith, has contacted Hoiberg and is very serious about “The Mayor” becoming its next head coach.
While that contact is significant, it isn’t the story though. Schools contact coaches all of the time.
Would Hoiberg consider leaving his alma matter for a program that isn’t known for being a perennial national power in the sport? Or, would Hoiberg leave Iowa State for any other college job at all?
Those questions are the story.
There are definitely some pros when it comes to the Minnesota gig. That university can pay a coach more than Iowa State can. Minnesota is a state rich with top-of-the-line recruiting prospects, prospects which Hoiberg and his Iowa State staff have shown serious interest in as of late. If Cyclone fans realize it/want to believe it or not, folks in the coaching industry view Minnesota as a better job than Iowa State. That’s a fact.
After leading Iowa State to two NCAA Tournaments in three seasons and being one shot away from a Sweet Sixteen berth this year, Hoiberg’s name might never be hotter than it is right now. If he has a vision to leave Ames in the future, now seems like a decent time to do so.
But then there’s this…It is what you all are already thinking. Iowa State is Iowa State. He is “The Mayor” of Ames for gosh sake. There isn’t a place in the world where Hoiberg and his family would be treated they way that they do in Ames.
In Minneapolis, Hoiberg is that likable up and comer that replaced Tubby Smith. But if you have a bad year or two?
What exactly this all means to the Hoiberg family and what their long-term goals are is anybody’s guess.
So here’s where the situation is at as of Thursday evening.
Hoiberg has some sort of decision to make but most importantly, so does Iowa State.
Jamie Pollard had to have seen this interest in Hoiberg coming. As we’ve learned with Pollard over the years, he is usually five or six steps ahead of anybody else when it comes to situations like this.
But the fact of the matter is that despite the winning, "The Mayor" brand and sold out crowds, Hoiberg is still one of the lowest paid coaches in the Big 12 at a $1.2 million base for the 2012-13 season.
Iowa State needs to give Hoiberg a raise and a hefty one at that. By no means is Iowa State rich, but the Cyclone athletic department is in much better shape than it was a year ago. In my mind, there is no better investment than keeping Fred Hoiberg in Ames for a long, long time. If that man is your coach, basketball is going to be selling out crowds, making lots of money and relevant.
Then there’s that whole NBA thing…
I understand the worries and I also don’t think that fans should fault Hoiberg should he eventually chooses to go that route. But if this is strictly about money, an average contract for an NBA coach (especially a rookie one) goes for about three years. Financially, Hoiberg is better off signing a long-term, revamped deal with Iowa State. Minnesota can offer him more money, but enough more to risk 40 years of building his brand as “The Mayor" and shun the university and community that has been so loyal to him for decades?
Most coaches would jump at this situation. As I spelled out above, Minnesota is an attractive job. A guy with National Titles like Tubby Smith would have never gone there if it wasn’t. But this isn’t your ordinary basketball coach. This is "The Mayor." This is Iowa State’s golden boy. This is his town, his university and his program.
My guess (only a guess) is that Hoiberg will get a new deal and be Iowa State’s head coach once again next season and hopefully, many years to come.
I just don’t see this Minnesota thing happening but as is always the case in the world that we live in, stay tuned.