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Matt Norlander

Iowa State with a surprising head-coaching hire

The Dagger

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nybody have this one either?

Like DePaul stealing Oliver Purnell in the night earlier this month, Iowa State going out and bringing in Fred Hoiberg was a move nobody saw coming.

No, really, nobody. Look around; his name wasn't connected at all with the job. How you could blame anybody, though. Hoiberg has never coached a basketball game in his life.

But for now, it's abject happiness in Ames. The phrase everyone's uttering: The Mayor is back. Barely 24 hours after Greg McDermott left the university to hop states and jump down a peg in power (to coach at Missouri Valley resident Creighton) Hoiberg was brought in to turn the program around.

Hoiberg got his nickname as The Mayor because he starred at Ames High School in the beginning of the '90s and was a stud while playing at Iowa State. He acquired the nickname while donning a Cyclones uniform, in fact. He left his gig as a front-office man (the vice president of basketball operations) with the Timberwolves (isn't that a cute picture) to try and turn this mediocre ship around. Throwing a pretty face on a problem isn't a solution, but there may not be another man who could lift the hopes at ISU like Hoiberg will in the short-term.

After all, the Cyclones have lacked relavance since they were ousted as a 2-seed against Hampton in the first round of the NCAA tournament at the beginning of the decade. If you live outside the Hawkeye State, chances are you couldn't name two Iowa State players in the past five years.

They 37-year-old Hoiberg may be the guy to change all that. There's been no more popular name at the school since, and this is a move that will certainly win over the community in the here and now. Hey, anything to uplift the spirits of the locals at this point, right? When your head coach leaves town to take a gig at a perceived inferior school, you can't ask for a much better hire at the end of April than this.

Hoiberg and the school's official announcement should come Wednesday morning.

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