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Bulls Hire Fred Hoiberg As Head Coach

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  • Bulls Hire Fred Hoiberg As Head Coach

    Fred Hoiberg working on 5-year deal with Chicago Bulls

    The Chicago Bulls are negotiating a five-year contract with Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg to become their next head coach, multiple league sources told ESPN's Andy Katz and Nick Friedell.

    Sources expect the deal to get done by the middle of next week at the latest. While contract language is still being hammered out, multiple sources said the feeling from many within the Bulls organization is that the deal is all but complete.

    The news doesn't come as a surprise; Hoiberg has been mentioned as a successor to Tom Thibodeau for months due to his close friendship with Bulls general manager Gar Forman and several others in the team's front office. Thibodeau was fired on Thursday after five seasons with the Bulls. He had two years and almost $9 million left on his contract.

    Hoiberg, 42, spent four of his 10 seasons in the NBA playing for the Bulls. He is respected throughout the league for the success he has had at his alma mater, but his move from Ames to Chicago has been expected for a while. While it is unclear exactly when a formal news conference will be held to announce the Hoiberg hiring, the Des Moines Register reported it could come as early as Tuesday.

    Hoiberg did not reply to multiple text messages sent by Forman said in a text message Saturday that he is "not going to respond to rumors or sources."

    Hoiberg had aortic valve replacement surgery April 17 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He initially had surgery in June 2005 to correct an enlarged aortic valve.

    Hoiberg retired from playing basketball in April 2006 at age 33 to take a job in the Minnesota Timberwolves front office.

    Nicknamed "the Mayor," Hoiberg was celebrated upon his return to Ames in 2010. He coached the Cyclones to the NCAA tournament in four of his five seasons, including the last four. Iowa State reached the Sweet 16 in 2014 and won more than 25 games the past two seasons and 115 total in his five at the school. He signed a 10-year deal with the Cyclones in April 2013.

    Hoiberg's personable skills worked well in college, and his "NBA style" -- he's a players-first coach -- is expected to aid in his transition to the pros. He also ran Iowa State like an NBA team, taking multiple transfers as if they were free agents each season.

    Forman and Bulls executive vice president John Paxson stressed that their next head coach must be a strong communicator, something both felt Thibodeau struggled with, especially during the end of his tenure. The hope within the Bulls organization is that Hoiberg fits the bill and also can create a more free-flowing offensive system -- he ran a pro-style offense in Ames -- that will get them over the hump in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

    Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard has been expecting Hoiberg's departure for months, but had remained in limbo while waiting to see if the Bulls would fire Thibodeau. Pollard said in a text to last week that the situation was "definitely bizarre.'' He didn't return a text message Saturday to

    Once Hoiberg is out, the Cyclones will consider looking inward at top assistant T.J. Otzelberger, who was with them for seven seasons before leaving for a similar position at Washington. He returned to Hoiberg's staff this spring.

    Former Iowa State coach and current UTEP coach (and one-time Bulls coach) Tim Floyd, as well as current Phoenix Suns coach and Iowa State alumnus Jeff Hornacek, also are expected to be in the mix for the position. Hornacek has one more season guaranteed with the Suns, with a team option for 2016-17.

    "It would be an honor and it'd be fun to coach your alma mater, but (Suns general manager) Ryan (McDonough) and I came here with a purpose and the purpose is to get the Phoenix Suns back on track," Hornacek said Friday, according to, when asked about the potential Iowa State opening. "We had a good start the first year and some bumps last year but we're committed to being here and get this thing going.''

    Iowa State is expected to be a top 10 team next season. The Cyclones return Georges Niang, Jameel McKay and Monte Morris and should challenge Kansas for the top spot in the Big 12.

  • #2
    Fred Hoiberg officially hired as Chicago Bulls coach

    CHICAGO -- Fred Hoiberg was officially introduced as the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday afternoon.

    Hoiberg's arrival in Chicago isn't a surprise. He has long been a favorite of the Bulls' front office and has become a close friend of general manager Gar Forman over the past two decades.

    Hoiberg, 42, spent four of his 10 years in the NBA playing in Chicago, and the feeling within the Bulls' organization is that Hoiberg's pro-style offense will pay immediate dividends.

    When Forman and executive vice president John Paxson announced the firing of former coach Tom Thibodeau last week after five seasons, both Forman and Paxson discussed that the Bulls needed to find a better communicator for their players.

    Hoiberg seems to fit that bill, and the Bulls are hopeful that his ability to get through to players, along with his offensive acumen, can help the organization get over the hump of beating LeBron James in the playoffs. James-led teams have beaten the Bulls in four of the past six postseasons.

    "In Fred, we feel that we've got a guy who has a terrific package of skills: a winning coach, a natural leader and a great communicator," Forman said in a release. "He is a guy that has played in the league, has been an executive in the league and has had unparalleled success coaching at Iowa State -- winning multiple Big 12 championships, consistently having nationally ranked teams and NCAA tournament teams. There is no question that we think he's the right fit and that he will maximize the potential of this team."

    Hoiberg faces a different challenge than most first-year head coaches, given that the Bulls are built to win a championship right away and may have missed their best chance in this season's playoffs after losing to James and a depleted Cleveland Cavaliers squad.

    The pressure will be on Hoiberg's shoulders early, and by proxy, those of Forman and Paxson, given the circumstances surrounding Thibodeau's departure.

    "I am very excited and thankful for the opportunity to coach the Chicago Bulls," Hoiberg said in the release. "Everyone back in Ames knows what Iowa State means to me and my family. I am closing a special chapter in my life and beginning a new one here in Chicago. Being a head coach in the NBA has always been a goal of mine and to be able to do it at this time with the Bulls was the right fit for me. Having played in the league for 10 years, and then worked in a front office of an NBA team for four years, I am ready to begin this next phase of my career and help this team win an NBA championship."