AMES — Fred Hoiberg finally spoke.
Then, up, up and away the “Mayor” went — on a private plane bound for Chicago.
In yet another unexpected wrinkle to “Hoiberg Watch 2015,” Iowa State’s (still) head coach answered questions from reporters assembled near a runway at the Ames airport at approximately 4:10 Monday afternoon.
Hoiberg, on WHO-TV, said there were still a lot of things that need “to play out” regarding the as-of-now unofficial news that he will be named the Chicago Bulls’ new head coach, replacing fired Tom Thibodeau.
“We’ll obviously talk more about that when the time is right,” Hoiberg added. “I’ll answer every question that I can.”
Hoiberg said he’ll take part “in some meetings this evening and then we’ll kind of go from there.”
Hoiberg said nothing has been “finalized” and reports to the contrary have been erroneous.
But “finalized” or not, Hoiberg’s fully expected to be named the Bulls’ head coach by late Monday or sometime Tuesday.
He called the last five years coaching his alma mater "five of the best years of his life" and said he’d never consider taking another college job.
"The last two years there’s been a lot of rumors out there and I have talked to teams," Hoiberg said. "That has been out there. But there’s been nothing even close to have happened over the last few years. this year, when this opportunity came about, it is something that interested me greatly and (ISU AD) Jamie Pollard is absolutely right: This is one of my life goals, is to coach in that league. … This year, things are a little bit different .And obviously all of us when we have life changes that can potentially happen, you sit down with your family and you weigh everything and you make the best decision you possibly can.”
Hoiberg also told reporters he understands what fans of him and the Cyclones have been going through as rumors drifted toward reality regarding his future plans.
"I’ve gotten very nice messages, I’ve gotten very nasty messages," he said. "I understand it’s all a part of it. I understand when you’re going through these types of things, even if you don’t take a position they’re still disappointed because, ‘Well, is the loyalty there?’ I get the passion of this place. I grew up here and I understand all that. That’s why it is such a tough decision. It’s why I have passed up on great opportunities here these past couple years to potentially get to that highest level.“
Hoiberg has directed the Cyclones to an unprecedented four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. ISU is a consensus preseason top-10 team for 2015-16.