Fred Hoiberg’s loss was Jim Boylen’s game in December when the former was hired by the Bulls and the latter took over. But Hoiberg’s unemployment lasted only a little less than 4 months when Nebraska University officially named him the men’s basketball coach on Saturday.
The Cornhuskers fired Tim Miles on Tuesday after seven seasons, and moved quickly to hire Hoiberg, who was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and whose grandfather was head coach from 1955 to 1963. It’ll be Hoiberg’s second stint in the college ranks after he led his alma mater Iowa State to four NCAA Tournament appearances in five seasons before taking over as Bulls head coach in 2015.
Hoiberg reportedly was looking for an NBA gig but that never surfaced, and instead of waiting out the potential carousel this offseason opted instead to return to the college ranks. That didn’t surprise Boylen, who said he was “really ecstatic” that Hoiberg landed the gig.
“I know he loves coaching college basketball. We’ve had many of those conversations,” Boylen said. “He did a terrific job at Iowa State. It looks like Nebraska is right in his wheelhouse and I’m sure he’ll take that program to the next level. Happy for him and his family.
“Fred’s got a great heart and he’s a good recruiter, he’s proven that. They need a good recruiter there. From what I hear they have all the facilities, all the trimmings for that program to take off. So he can do it, he will do it and I’m happy for him and his family.”
Hoiberg was able to turn around Iowa State’s program and it appears he’ll face a similar rebuild in Lincoln. The Cyclones had suffered four straight losing seasons and had one winning record in the Big 12 since 2002 when Hoiberg took over in 2011. A quick look at the Huskers' roster shows that its top three scorers - James Palmer Jr., Isaac Copeland Jr. and Glynn Watson - are all seniors.
“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,” Hoiberg said in a press release.
“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.”
Hoiberg actually has experience coaching in Pinnacle Arena, home of the Cornhuskers. The Bulls and Mavericks played a preseason game there in 2015, something Hoiberg also mentioned in the press release announcing his hiring.
“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,” he said. “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’s hiring in Lincoln could be the start of a Big Ten family rivalry, as his son, Jack, is currently a junior walk-on at Michigan State.