Fred Hoiberg’s NBA stint was short-lived and not particularly memorable. After making the jump from Iowa State to the Chicago Bulls in 2015, Hoiberg endured several losing seasons before getting fired this past December. Now, Omaha World-Herald reporter Chris Heady reports that Hoiberg has accepted the head coaching position for Nebraska’s basketball program.
It’s a quick turnaround for Nebraska, who let go of former head coach Tim Miles on March 26th. The Cornhuskers don’t exactly have a prestigious basketball program, as the team hasn’t won a regular season conference title since 1950 and have only made the NCAA tournament twice in the last twenty years. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the deal is worth $25 million over seven years; Nebraska clearly believes Hoiberg is their guy, and is willing to give him as much time as he needs to turn the program around.
Hoiberg might have a poor reputation at the moment from the disaster that was the Chicago Bulls, but he never really got a fair shake in the NBA. The first year he was brought in was the final year of the Rose/Butler era, and both were traded after the team missed the playoffs. They made it in Hoiberg’s second year, which is somewhat remarkable considering it was the year of the failed experiment that was Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo as veteran presences. Hoiberg then struggled to win with a group of young, inexperienced players before ultimately getting the boot.
Hoiberg, who was born in Lincoln, will have a chance to show that his tenure at Iowa State was more indicative of his coaching prowess than his time with the Bulls. He turned the Cyclones’ program around in short order, and two of his recruits (Monte Morris and Abdel Nader) receive regular playing time in the NBA today. He should get more of a chance than when he was under the questionable management duo of Gar Forman and John Paxson.