By Rob Gray
AMES — As rumors swirled about his coaching future, Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg slipped away.
Minnesota of the Big Ten had come calling?
Myriad NBA teams want his services?
Could “the Mayor” possibly be considering moving on from his alma mater?
“Throughout this, I kind of got away with my wife (Carol),” said Hoiberg, who Thursday agreed to a new 10-year/$20 million contract designed to keep him in his hometown through at least 2023. “The biggest thing I wanted to do was decompress after the season. I met with all the players the day after the season (ended). I met with my staff the following day. The biggest thing I wanted to do was get my wife out of here for a few days and just talk about our future. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
A second straight season as the Cyclones’ coach had just concluded with a third-round loss in the NCAA Tournament.
This one, familiarly, on a last-second shot by Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, which was prefaced by a controversial call moments earlier.
Stress comes with the territory for Hoiberg, a former ball boy, turned star player granted honorary elected office, then unproven and now sought-after coach.
Time with family eases it.
Not that the Hoiberg-to-? talk didn’t hit home a little, too.
“My daughter, she saw a little bit of the rumors and she got a little freaked out about it,” said Hoiberg, the first coach to guide ISU to consecutive NCAA Tournaments since Larry Eustachy did it in 2000 and 2001. “But the thing that’s great for me is this is where I want to be. It’s home for me, it’s home for my family, it’s a great place to raise kids. And I’m excited about our future — not only about what we’ve done in the past. We’ve got a bright future ahead of us.”
Hoiberg’s new $2 million annual contract makes him the fourth-highest paid coach in the Big 12.
His previous deal, reworked last summer, came out to $1.5 million per year, or eighth in the league.
It’s an exciting day,” Hoiberg said. “I thank (ISU) president (Steven) Leath and (athletic director) Jamie Pollard for believing in me and hopefully we’ll do a lot of great things over the next 10 years — and hopefully beyond.”
The news release announcing the new deal noted Hoiberg had drawn interest from “several universities and NBA teams.”
Multiple Twin Cities media outlets reported Minnesota had offered Hoiberg the Gophers’ coaching job left vacant after the firing of Tubby Smith.“There’s a lot of rumors that are out there,” Hoiberg said. “It’s flattering when you hear your name associated with different things, but at the end of the day the best move for me was to stay at Iowa State.”