basketball Edit

Hoiberg hired as new Nebraska head coach

Former Iowa State and Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg was announced as the new head of Nebraska's basketball program.
Former Iowa State and Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg was announced as the new head of Nebraska's basketball program. (Associated Press)

The worst-kept secret in Nebraska athletics finally became official on Saturday, as Nebraska officially announced that former Iowa State legend Fred Hoiberg had been named the Huskers' new men’s basketball head coach.

“First, I want to thank Bill Moos, Chancellor (Ronnie) Green and President (Hank) Bounds for the opportunity to lead the Nebraska men’s basketball program,” Hoiberg said in a press release. “I can’t express how excited I am to be back on the sidelines and to be coaching at a university that means a lot to my family and me.

“Lincoln is a special place for our family. I was born in Lincoln, my grandfather Jerry Bush was the head coach at Nebraska, my other grandfather was a long-time professor there, and my parents are proud graduates of the University of Nebraska. Nebraska has always felt like a second home.

“I had the opportunity to coach at Pinnacle Bank Arena with the Bulls, and I have seen first-hand that the facilities are as nice as any in the country. When you couple that with a loyal and passionate fan base, you can see there is great potential for the future of Nebraska basketball.”

Hoiberg, 46, has been considered by many to be the closest thing to a unanimously agreed upon candidate by an NU fan base desperate for a winner.

In five seasons at Iowa State from 2010-15, Hoiberg led his alma mater to a 115-56 record that featured four straight NCAA Tournament berths – including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2014 - and four consecutive 23-plus win seasons.

He claimed two Big 12 Tournament titles and was 49-39 in conference play at ISU – including going 46-26 over his final five seasons. Prior to Hoiberg’s return, the Cyclones had posted four straight losing seasons with only one winning record between 2002 and 2011.

Hoiberg made the jump to the NBA in June of 2015 when he was hired by the Chicago Bulls, where he coached until he was fired in December of 2018. He went 115-155 in Chicago with only one playoff appearance, though a number of key injuries and some heavily-criticized roster management by his front office played big roles in that record.

Hoiberg’s connections to Nebraska, both with the program and the state, run deep. He was born in Lincoln, and while he grew up in Ames, Iowa, both his parents are Nebraska natives who graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

His grandfather, Jerry Bush, was the Husker men's basketball coach from 1954-63. His niece worked in NU's basketball offices under previous head coach Tim Miles. On top of all that, his former college roommate at Iowa State, Mark Hankins, is now NU’s head men’s golf coach.

“We are excited to welcome Fred, his wife Carol, and their family to Nebraska. He will be an outstanding representative of the University, and a great leader for our men’s basketball program,” Moos said in the release.

“When you look at him, you see an individual who has had success as a player and a coach,” Moos said. “Fred’s background will sell itself on the recruiting trail, and help us bring in the type of student-athletes needed to compete at the highest level. His style of play not only will be appealing to prospective recruits, but will also provide our great fans an entertaining brand of basketball.”

Hoiberg’s contract was also announced at seven years, $25 million, which, at $3.51 million per year, would put him as the 11th highest paid coach nationally and among the highest in the Big Ten.

Hoiberg was given a fully guaranteed, five-year, $25 million contract by the Bulls and is still owed $5 million this year and in 2020. However, his salary at NU will offset that total. At Iowa State, he agreed to a 10-year, $20 million extension back in 2013, giving him an average annual salary of $2.6 million.

Hoiberg inherits a Nebraska program that hasn’t won a share of a conference championship since 1950 and played in just one NCAA tournament since 1998. The Huskers have never won a game in seven NCAA appearances.

He becomes the Huskers' 28th men's basketball head coach all-time and their fourth since 2001.

Nebraska will officially introduce Hoiberg during a press conference on Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.