AMES — Put the rumors to bed.
That was what former Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg had to say to conspiracy theorists who believe that T.J. Otzelberger was brought back to replace him (in April) when he would eventually leave for the Chicago Bulls.
“There have been rumors that T.J. was brought back to be my successor, Hoiberg said Friday afternoon to the local media. "That’s not true. That’s absolutely not the case."
Otzelberger, who Hoiberg hired as his associate head coach when he took the Iowa State job in 2010, left Washington after a two-year stint to replace Matt Abdelmassih, who left for St. John’s in late March.
"I brought T.J. back because of a great amount of respect that I have and the great job that he did for me here when I was early in my coaching career," Hoiberg said. "I think that T.J. is going to be a terrific coach. There’s no doubt in my mind that T.J. will be a terrific coach."
Throughout the press conference, Hoiberg made numerous comments about Otzelberger, who is believed to be interviewing for Iowa State’s vacancy this weekend (per Andy Katz of ESPN), but wouldn’t quite go as far to endorse his former assistant for the job.
"Jamie is the guy that I am confident will make the right hire," Hoiberg said. "When I brought T.J. back here, it was all about bringing somebody back who not only I had a great relationship with but also a guy who has a great relationship with our existing players.”
In addition to Otzelberger, current head coaches Brad Underwood (Stephen F. Austin), Bryce Drew (Valparaiso) and Steve Prohm (Murray State) are reportedly interviewing for the Iowa State job.