Wow. That didn't take long.
Greg McDermott out. Fred Hoiberg in. Wait, did I just write, Fred Hoiberg in. Yes I did. He's the new men's head basketball coach at Iowa State.
Talk about making a splash. I talked to several Cyclone fans who are so excited, they can't contain it. Fred Hoiberg is a living legend, a Cyclone icon, a reminder of Hilton Magic. What he isn't is a head coach with any experience.
Anyone who says this is a great hire, or an awful one, is just flat out guessing. We don't know, and won't know for years. It's either inspired or desperate, but it's definintely a go for broke reach by Athletics Director Jamie Pollard. He's is either a visionary or short-sighted.
A big part of Pollard's job is to sell tickets, entice donors, and energize the fan base. Hiring Fred Hoiberg will do all three. Eventually, winning must follow. It's like building a new Major League Baseball stadium. For a few seasons, fans will sell it out no matter the product on the field. Sooner or later, if the team's not winning, fans stop coming. Just ask the Orioles.
I like it, but then I like Fred. I figure it can't get worse than the past four seasons. Iowa State's already ahead, and Creighton paid to make it happen.
I think Fred's experience as an NBA player and executive will help with the kind of egos and agendas McDermott could never figure out. It won't hurt that Fred can recruit by saying, "Want to get to the NBA? I know what it takes." Fred's love of Iowa State will help too, but nothing matters more than his staff. Retaining TJ Otzelberger is smart, he can recruit. Jeff Grayer could help too. He can get after players more than people realize. The other spots are key. Nick Nurse is out. Who's in? Hoiberg needs to add an assistant with extensive D1 experience. If he's been a head coach, even better. (A guy like Kirk Speraw, who just joined Fran McCaffery's staff at Iowa.)
The outlook for the 2010-2011 season just improved greatly. The years after that... who knows? Pollard knew from the jump who he wanted. He got him. I can't wait to find out if it works.
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