AMES — Fred Hoiberg accepted the role, script unseen.
Iowa State’s beloved coach would serve as a headliner in a commercial to promote the Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge and help raise funds for the American Heart Association.
The thought of dancing during the spot never occurred to him, but just like when he somewhat smoothly gyrated after the Cyclones’ round of 32 NCAA Tournament win last season, he’s now an Internet and social media sensation, yo.
“I was impressed,” said Hoiberg, who — in case you’ve been under a rock — donned a velour track suit to shake it to the old-school stylings of Naught By Nature (“Hip Hop Hooray"). “I thought I (had) pretty good rhythm.”
Not so fast, coach.
“My daughter (Paige) said, ‘Can I Tweet about it?’” said Hoiberg, whose 17th-ranked team faces No. 14 West Virginia on the road on Saturday. “I said, ‘Sure.’ I think a good thing to say was, ‘My dad has more swag than your dad.’ And then I looked at her Twitter feed and it said, ‘SMH,’ which I think means ‘shaking my head.’
Right, Mayor. But, again, he was an unsuspecting dancer driven by a good cause.
Fans can vote for an array of coaches at this website. Infiniti will donated at least $1,000 to each coaches’ designated charity. Fans are encouraged to join in — and the winning coach gets at least $100,000 for his charity. As of Thursday afternoon, Hoiberg was running, er, dancing, away with it, leading Purdue’s Matt Painter 28 percent to 16 percent.
“The American Heart Association, obviously, is something that’s very close to me because I’m one of millions of people around the world that lives daily with heart disease," Hoiberg said. "I’m not fully out of the woods, with having to have another procedure here in the future. So it’s something that you look at; the advancements in heart disease and where a guy like me, that every time my heart beats it’s because of a pacemaker, that’s all because of organizations that raise money and funds for research and development. It’s very important.”
Hoiberg might have wanted to put some role research into his trip to Detroit to film the commercial, though.
“When went out there I heard something about a talent show, a talent competition but I didn’t know I was going to be doing the dance moves that I did,” Hoiberg said. “I get out there, I had lunch with (Iowa coach) Fran McCaffery and (Pittsburgh coach) Jamie Dixon and we were sitting around and Fran said, “I’m surprised you agreed to do this.’ I said, ‘I don’t even know exactly what I’m doing.’ Then I saw the script on the dancing. I almost walked home after I saw that.”
He’s joking. Hoiberg would have yodeled to help the American Heart Association. So he soldiered on and met with a choreographer.
“So we worked for an hour and I’m not sure if you wear velour, but it doesn’t breathe real well,” Hoiberg said. “So I was drenched head to toe and I walked back into the room and I was exhausted. And there’s Fran and Jamie eating doughnuts and drinking coffee. So it was tough, but then I got out there and there’s 500 kids in the audience I had to dance in front of — and literally the first time the music played I just froze. I had no chance. So it took about 100 takes to get that 10 seconds of actual dancing out there.”
Totally worth it, on multiple levels. Take it from the Cyclones’ Naz Long.
“Matt (Thomas) was actually rehearsing it yesterday,” Long joked. “I don’t know if he’s going to do it at halfcourt today. But coach Hoiberg’s the man. That just goes to show his personality. He just does things that other coaches don’t necessarily do. It was great to have Iowa’s coach— coach Fran — in there at the end. Coach Hoiberg’s the man. That’s all that needs to be said about that.”