Williams Blog: Props to Pollard on Hoiberg deal

Jamie Pollard had to pay Fred Hoiberg. He had no choice. None. Nada. Zip.

Iowa State could not under any circumstance let “The Mayor” leave Ames for another college job, especially a job like Minnesota. We’re not talking about North Carolina or Kansas people. Minnesota. Not the Timberwolves. The Gophers. 

On Thursday night, Pollard did what Pollard does. He stepped up to the plate and knocked one out of the park for Iowa State by signing Hoiberg up to new 10-year, $20 million contract.

I had a pretty good feeling that he would do just that. Knowing Pollard, he had probably been working on this new deal for two or three weeks. By the time that some sort of a scenario or rumor becomes "news," Pollard generally had been thinking about that a month ago.  

About two hours before the new contract’s announcement was made, I wrote this in a column about Minnesota’s interest in Iowa State’s head coach.

“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.”

I meant that then and I’m applauding Iowa State’s administration for it now. This isn’t any regular coach. This is Hoiberg, an Ames native, and Iowa State grad, the Cyclone Nation’s golden boy. 

"The Mayor" brand is worth a lot in its own right. If that man is coaching at Iowa State, you folks will continue to sell out Hilton Coliseum. Period. It is because he is "The Mayor." It’s the Iowa State way. We support our own. 

After two straight trips to the Big Dance, there was no way that Iowa State was going to let this guy go. None. Nada. Zip. 

Toss these two scenarios around in your brain for a minute…

A) What life after Hoiberg would have been like for Iowa State’s new head coach had the Mayor departed at this time? It would have been an impossible situation under those circumstances. Simply impossible.

B) And what about Pollard? We all know that he was going to do all that he could do to keep Fred in town, but what if Hoiberg would have left anyway? I understand how this works. You probably do too. This is a business. But what about the irrational fanatic that you see freaking out up in section 217 every game? We all love that guy, but something tells me he wouldn’t quite “get” this situation.

This had to be done. Iowa State didn’t have a choice. 

According to the Twitter feed of my good friend and Cyclone Fanatic columnist Brent Blum, “The Mayor now 4th highest paid coach in Big 12…behind Self, Huggins and Barnes. Drew also around 2 million, one dollar per timeout.”

(Well played on the Scott Drew dig by the way.)

But back to the serious topic at hand, that’s right where Hoiberg should be when it comes to market value, where he’s at in his career, the Iowa State factor, etc.

He can’t be one or two. I mean, the guy has only coached for three seasons. While his track record has certainly been encouraging over that time, it isn’t anywhere close to a Bill Self or Bob Huggins level yet.

Fourth in the league, right neck-in-neck with Scott Drew is perfect. 

Iowa State has its guy. Hoiberg has security and now, he’s being paid what the market value says he should be paid.

To stick with the trend, Hoiberg belongs in Ames and nowhere else. Nowhere. Nada. Zip. 

More jottings on this move…


*** Minnesota has now whiffed on its top three targets to become head coach – Shaka Smart, Hoiberg and Brad Stevens. That’s some good company for Iowa State’s coach to be in folks.

*** To the over-the-top academia people out there moaning about coaching salaries today, just stop. There is nothing more nauseating to me than the academia folks coming out of the woodworks every time that a coach gets a raise in this state. When tens of thousands of fans start paying to watch you teach biology, then talk to me.

*** How many alums would come back for Homecoming if there wasn’t a football game? 

*** In 2006, Iowa State’s enrollment was 25, 462. In 2012, it was at 31,040.

Did Paul Rhoads and Fred Hoiberg have everything to do with that? Absolutely not. But did Rhoads’ program going to bowl games and the excitement Hoiberg’s program was generating give Iowa State more exposure than any “Choose Your Adventure” commercial could ever dream of? Yes. 

*** To end that argument, I get both sides. Athletics need the academic folk. The academic folk benefit  from athletic success. 

*** The truth is, coaching salaries are out of whack but that is how the free market works. Hoiberg is being paid what he is worth. These programs bring A LOT of money in. Again, the free market. 

*** What’s troubling is say for a minute that Hoiberg’s teams are awful for the next four years. He’s being paid a lot of money and not producing. Look at Kirk Ferentz at Iowa or heck, even the Greg McDermott situation in Ames a few years ago. The whole system is whacked. Coaches definitely hold the upper hand. 

*** Enough of the negative. This is a very good day for the Cyclone Nation. Rhoads and Hoiberg are both locked into lucrative long-term deals. Christy-Johnson Lynch just re-signed in volleyball. Bill Fennelly will literally be here for a lifetime. Add the new Big 12 deal and I can honestly write that since I’ve been covering Iowa State athletics since 2004, I have never seen a better future for the athletic department than now. 

Like the title reads, props to Pollard.