(October 15, 1972 - )
Former star player turned coach, Fred Hoiberg has the most wins as an Iowa State men’s basketball head coach to date.
The achievements of Fred Hoiberg – a favorite son and native of Ames, a Cyclone basketball legend, a 10-year NBA veteran, and the winningest head coach in Iowa State men’s basketball history – were all a part of a legendary Cardinal and Gold legacy that made him known in the Iowa State community as “The Mayor.”
In five years as head coach, Hoiberg resurrected his alma mater’s men’s basketball program and turned it into a force on the national level, orchestrating the biggest turnaround in Big 12 history in 2011-12 and guiding the Cyclones to four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances (2012-2015) for the first time in school history. Hoiberg was the fastest coach to 100 wins in school history and his 115 wins are the most in a five-year span.
The 2014-15 Cyclones replaced a pair of All-Americans and didn't miss a beat, finishing 25-9 overall and tying for second place in the Big 12 with a 12-6 mark. Iowa State earned its 17th NCAA Tournament appearance and Georges Niang became the fourth player under Hoiberg to earn All-America honors. Iowa State defeated nine ranked teams in 2014-15 and a nation's-best 18 top-25 foes in his last two seasons.
The 2013-14 season, Hoiberg’s fourth in Ames, was an incredible ride that Cyclone fans will never forget. ISU went 28-8 overall, earned championship trophies at the Diamond Head Classic and Big 12 Tournament and advanced to the school’s fourth Sweet 16. With an 11-7 record (tied for third in the Big 12) in conference play, Iowa State posted its third-straight 10-win season in league play.
Iowa State had reloaded after losing three starters from the 2012-13 NCAA Tournament team. Hoiberg brought in a talented trio of players in graduate transfer DeAndre Kane, JUCO transfer Dustin Hogue and Monte Morris to play alongside stalwarts Niang and Melvin Ejim. Together, along with the development of sharpshooters Naz Long and Matt Thomas, Iowa State posted one of the best seasons in school history.
The year was filled with excitement. The program opened the season winning a school-record 14 games in a row. Iowa State defeated a program-record nine teams ranked in the Associated Press top-25 and became the first school in Big 12 history to have five different players earn Big 12 Player of the Week honors.
Ejim was named the Big 12 Player of the Year. Kane took home honors as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, the third-straight Cyclone to earn that honor. The duo also earned numerous All-America nods, with Ejim being named a Capital One Academic All-American as well.
The Cyclones beat North Carolina Central in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cyclones rallied as one in the next round, beating North Carolina on a Kane buzzer-beater, to advance to the Sweet 16. The Cyclones fell to Connecticut at Madison Square Garden the following weekend.
Despite losing its top-three scorers from 2011-12, Hoiberg led ISU to a fourth-place finish in the Big 12 (11-7) and a 23-12 overall mark in 2012-13.
Led by four All-Big 12 performers, including Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Will Clyburn, the Cyclones earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament, defeating Notre Dame in the second round. ISU defeated three ranked teams and posted the sixth-best all-time winning percentage in Hilton Coliseum at 16-1.
Picked to finish eighth in the 2011-12 Big 12 preseason poll, Hoiberg’s Cyclones responded by tying for third in the Big 12, amassing 23 wins overall and going 12-6 in league play, a +9 conference-win improvement from the previous season. The Cyclones dethroned defending national champion Connecticut in the second round of the NCAA Championship before falling to No. 1 seed and eventual national champion Kentucky.
At season’s end, the awards and honors poured in. Hoiberg was named 2012 Big 12 Co-Coach of the Year and four Cyclones earned all-conference recognition, the most since 2001.
Hoiberg coached 12 players who earned All-Big 12 recognition, including Niang, who became the eighth Cyclone in Big 12 history to earn first-team all-league honors by the conference coaches. Ejim and Kane were on the first team in 2013-14, making them the first Cyclone teammates to earn top-team honors in the same season since 1986. In 2011-12, Royce White was a first-team selection in addition to earning honorable mention All-America honors and being picked 16th in the 2012 NBA Draft.
It was Hoiberg’s play at Hilton Coliseum in the 1990s, however, that endeared him to Cyclone fans. One of the school’s most-admired competitors, Hoiberg averaged 15.8 points and is the school’s fourth all-time leading scorer (1,993 points).
The Cyclones won 78 games and played in three NCAA Tournaments in his career. Hoiberg’s sweet stroke from long distance may have been his calling card, but his overall game was outstanding and fundamentally sound.
He played in 126 career games (the first three years for Coach Johnny Orr and the last one for Coach Tim Floyd) with the Cyclones and was a major contributor each year.
As a rookie, he earned AP Big Eight Freshman of the Year honors after scoring 12.1 ppg and establishing a school record with 34 consecutive made free throws. That Cyclone club made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1989.
Hoiberg averaged 20.2 points per game, ranked in the conference’s Top 10 in seven categories and was named second-team All-Big Eight as a junior.
In his senior season and second year as team captain, he led the Cyclones to a then-school record 23 wins and the NCAA Tournament’s second round. Hoiberg averaged 19.9 ppg on the way to All-America and first-team all-league honors. He was named co-Big Eight Male Athlete of the Year.
Hoiberg had many memorable games as a Cyclone. He poured in 32 points, including a remarkable 17 straight in the second half, of a 69-65 upset of third-ranked Kansas in 1995. Later that season, Hoiberg tallied a career-best 41 points in a conference win over Colorado. His three-point play (layup and then the game-winning free throw) with 9.4 seconds left helped ISU defeat second-ranked Oklahoma State 84-83 in overtime in 1992.
The contributions that Hoiberg made to both his school and home city have been recognized many times. His jersey #32 was retired by ISU in 1997 and hangs in the rafters at Hilton Coliseum. Hoiberg was inducted into the Iowa State Letterwinners’ Hall of Fame in 2005 and recognized as part of the men’s basketball program’s All-Century team in 2008. On Feb. 9, 1997, Mayor Larry Curtis proclaimed it to be “Fred Hoiberg Day” during a Cyclone game. He’s also a member of the NHSF Hall of Fame (2012) and Cosida-Academic All-America Hall of Fame (2016).
Hoiberg was a second-round NBA draft pick (52nd overall) by the Indiana Pacers in 1995. He was also chosen #1 overall (by the Cedar Rapids Silver Bullets) in the 1995 CBA draft that year, but he joined the Pacers (where he played four seasons) to begin a decade long NBA career.
He also played for the Chicago Bulls (four years) and Minnesota Timberwolves (two years) and scored 2,944 points in 541 regular-season games. He led the NBA in 3-point field-goal percentage in his final season in the league (2004-05). His pro career ended abruptly at the age of 33 after undergoing open-heart surgery to repair an aneurysm in his aortic root. Hoiberg considered a comeback but, ultimately, accepted an administrative post with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
As a prep, Hoiberg starred in both basketball and football at Ames High School. Hoiberg earned his finance degree from Iowa State University in 1995. He was a first-team academic All-American as a senior, a second-team pick as a junior and a three-time honoree on the Big Eight All-Academic team. There was certainly an academic background in his family as both of his parents – dad (Eric) at Iowa State and mom (Karen) in elementary school – had teaching careers.
Cyclones.com, ISU Athletics. https://cyclones.com/sports/mens-basketball/roster/coaches/fred-hoiberg/700
“The Fred Factor,” by Kate Bruns, VISIONS magazine, winter 2011. Online at https://www.isualum.org/s/565/17/interior.aspx?sid=565&gid=1&pgid=5568