Former Celts candidate Hoiberg in Sweet 16

Former Celts candidate Hoiberg in Sweet 16
March 24, 2014, 1:15 pm
Share This Post

WALTHAM, Mass. — One of the hottest coaches in college basketball today is Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg.

The Celtics certainly felt good about him this past summer when their head coaching search included the 41-year-old who emerged as one of the stronger candidates for a job that ultimately went to another coach from the college ranks, then-Butler head coach Brad Stevens.

Boston's vacancy came about when then-head coach Doc Rivers was named head coach and vice president of basketball of operations for the Los Angeles Clippers. In return for letting Rivers out of his contract in Boston, which had three years and $21 million remaining, the Clippers will send their 2015 first-round pick to the Celtics.

As for Hoiberg's candidacy, one source indicated that talks with Hoiberg had reached a point where potential assistants were contacted if he were to become the Celtics next head coach.

"Good guy, knows his stuff. Guys like playing for him," was how one NBA front office official described Hoiberg to "He's a good, young coach."

Current Celtic Chris Babb played for Hoiberg at Iowa State and believes he would have a relatively seamless transition to coaching at this level.

"From what I see, he coaches an NBA style," Babb said. "The plays he runs, the way he teaches the guys, the way he handles situations with his players. He handles it in a very NBA style. It would be a good transition for him."

Picked with the No. 52 overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft, Hoiberg carved out a solid 10-year career as one of the game's best three-point shooters playing for Indiana (1995-1999), Chicago (1999-2003) and Minnesota (2003-2005).

After undergoing surgery for an enlarged aortic root in his heart in 2005, Hoiberg made a short-lived comeback as a player before ultimately joining the Minnesota Timberwolves as an assistant coach and later, a front-office official.

In April of 2010, he was named head coach at his alma mater Iowa State.

While there's no questioning his allegiance to the Cyclones, Hoiberg at least left the door ajar for a possible return to the NBA as a head coach.

When he signed a 10-year, $20 million deal with Iowa State last spring, it included a buyout clause of $2 million if he were to take another Division I head coaching job.

However, the buyout amount drops dramatically to just $500,000 if he were to bolt for the NBA to become a head coach or a front-office official.

In his fourth season at Iowa State, Hoiberg has led the Cyclones to the NCAA Tournament each of the last three seasons which includes a berth in the Sweet 16 following Sunday's 85-55 thumping of Creighton in the third round of the NCAAs.