A while back, a couple reporters who cover Kansas asked if I ever envisioned Fred Hoiberg someday being the Jayhawks’ basketball coach. Not now. Not even in a year or two, but sometime down the road?
Would The Mayor really return to Hilton Coliseum, this time as the coach of the team Cyclones fans despise the most?
I told them that I figured Hoiberg would coach again after his time with the Chicago Bulls ends. I suggested the Minnesota Timberwolves eventually. I brought up Arizona, UCLA, Minnesota and Michigan State, too.
Unless the feds’ investigation into college basketball dictates otherwise, I don’t see Bill Self leaving Kansas anytime too soon. But Hoiberg to somewhere else?
Don’t bet against it, after the Bulls canned Ames’ favorite son Monday morning.
He might do television first — bit parts for NBA national and/or regional telecasts. He might even be a studio analyst for college broadcasts. He knows the game. He knows the players.
Yeah, Fred to ESPN on an interim basis. I like that one.
I called up Ray Cole, whose title includes serving on the board of governors for the ABC television network, which is linked to ESPN. Cole is from West Des Moines. He attends many Iowa State basketball games. He knows Fred.
“He now has a great opportunity to stand back and think about what he wants to do next,” Cole said. “Fred has many options.”
He might coach again in the NBA, this time for an organization that provides him an NBA-like roster and now whatever Bulls Vice President John Paxson gave him during three-plus seasons with Chicago. He might return to college.
“And then the interim move while evaluating what he wants to do, perhaps could be the role of sharing his knowledge and expertise in an analyst role on television,” Cole continued. “You see many successful coaches go from college coaching to television and back to coaching.”
He mentioned Herm Edwards, Arizona State’s head football coach. He mentioned former Texas football coach Mack Brown, who last week was hired by North Carolina. And don’t forget Urban Meyer, who worked briefly as a television analyst before becoming Ohio State’s coach.
They were successful coaches. They were good in the ESPN studio. They’re back coaching again.
“Fred possesses all the attributes that a regional or national network looks for,” Cole said. “He has great experience as coach, great experience as a player, he’s bright, he’s personable, he’s articulate and he’s respected by coaches and players alike.”
That would only be interim. Hoiberg is 46. He still has a lot of basketball knowledge to pass on to 18- to-22-year-olds — if there’s a college job out there that trips his trigger. And, yes, Hoiberg holds the cards on this one. He can afford to wait for what he would determine to be the right opportunity.
He was linked — albeit loosely — to the Ohio State vacancy after Thad Matta left. He got a raise during his five seasons at Iowa State after being mentioned prominently for the Minnesota Gophers job in March 2013.
“There were a lot of inquiries, but nothing got to the point where there was an offer,” Hoiberg said in a phone interview with the Des Moines back then.
He still wants to coach — someplace — people close to Hoiberg say. He has a full season remaining on a five-year, $25 million contract that’s fully guaranteed. He can take his time. He can analyze in front of the camera. He can watch his Michigan State basketball-playing son. He can weigh his options, as the cliché goes.
But Kansas someday after Bill Self has had enough of the college game?
That seems a bit of a stretch.
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been with the Register for parts of five decades. Randy writes opinion and analysis of Iowa State football and basketball. You can reach Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @RandyPete.
Source: Des Moines Register