Fred Hoiberg: 8 things to know about new Bulls coach

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New Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg | AP Photo

New Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg | AP Photo

It’s official: Fred Hoiberg is the new coach of the Chicago Bulls, replacing the recently fired Tom Thibodeau.

Here are eight things worth knowing about the new coach of the Bulls:

1. Hoiberg is a legend in his hometown of Ames, Iowa, the city he just left to become the Bulls’ next coach. He was a prep star in both football and basketball at Ames High School. He was named Mr. Basketball as well as Gatorade’s Iowa Player of the Year in football. He averaged 38.1 points in six state tournament games on the way to the 1991 championship. Hoiberg, who grew up blocks away from Hilton Coliseum and served as a ball boy at Cyclone games, then starred at Iowa State. He scored 1,993 points during his college career and his No. 32 jersey is retired at Hilton Coliseum. Hoiberg returned to Iowa State as head coach in 2010, and the school has blossomed with him in charge. The Cyclones have reached four straight NCAA tournaments for the first time in program history.

2. Hoiberg’s nickname of “The Mayor” was coined by former Iowa State player Doug Collins. Hoiberg arrived at Iowa State with such immense popularity, Collins was immediately struck by the charisma of the hometown hero. “Everywhere we turned it was Fred Hoiberg this and Fred Hoiberg that, so I just called him The Mayor of Ames one day,” Collins told the ISU athletics department. “It kind of took off after that. I was calling him The Mayor because everywhere we went I would get asked, ‘Do you know Fred Hoiberg?’” The nickname was big in Iowa for awhile until Dick Vitale began referencing Hoiberg as The Mayor in national broadcasts. The moniker got taken a bit too literally in Ames’ 1993 mayoral election, and Hoiberg received several write-in votes. His Twitter handle is @ISUMayor32.

3. Hoiberg took over an Iowa State program coming off four straight losing seasons and went 16-16 in 2010-11. The Cyclones didn’t win fewer than 23 games in each of the next four seasons, and Hoiberg was named Big 12 coach of the year in 2012. The Cyclones lost their top three scorers after the season but still finished fourth in the Big 12 the following year. Hoiberg became the fastest coach in Iowa State history to win 100 games.

4. Hoiberg was drafted by the Pacers with the 52nd overall pick (second round) of the 1995 NBA draft. He was a bench player during his 10 seasons in the NBA, spending four with the Pacers, four with the Bulls and two with the Timberwolves. His most productive season came with the Bulls in 2000-01, when he averaged 9.1 points and shot better than 41 percent from 3-point range. After his time as a player in Minnesota, Hoiberg joined the Timberwolves’ front office.

5. Hoiberg had to walk away from basketball in 2005 because of a heart condition. He had his second open-heart operation in a decade less than two months ago when he underwent aortic valve replacement surgery. He ended his basketball career in 2005 after undergoing open heart surgery to remove an enlargement on his aortic root.

6. Hoiberg and Bulls general manager Gar Forman have a relationship that goes back years. Forman was an Iowa State assistant coach during Hoiberg’s last season as a player. Forman served as a Bulls scout during Hoiberg’s time in Chicago as a player. Hoiberg even sold his home in Chicago to Forman.

7. Hoiberg’s dance moves made him famous, too — on the internet, anyway.

8. Hoiberg played under several big-name coaches during his time in the NBA, and he cites them as influences for his own coaching style. Among them are Larry Brown, Larry Bird, Tim Floyd, Flip Saunders and Kevin McHale.

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