Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg tests positive for COVID-19 amid massive program outbreak

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Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg
Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg is one of 12 people in the program, including seven players, to test positive for the coronavirus this week. (Kenneth Ferriera/Lincoln Journal Star/AP)

Though it had been shut down all week, Nebraska’s COVID-19 issues appear to have only gotten worse.

Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg announced on Sunday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. He is one of 12 people, including seven players, within the program who contracted the virus.

Hoiberg, 48, said he tested positive on Friday and has been isolating ever since. Though he said he is experiencing symptoms, his “condition has improved over the last 24 hours.”

“Our program has been hit hard over the last 10 days, and we are all trying to manage it and get through it,” Hoiberg said in a statement, in part. “We are very fortunate to have a great medical team around us that is here to ensure the collective health and safety of our program. We have taken a pause from all basketball-related activities and will return only when it is absolutely safe to do so.”

All 12 people in the program who have tested positive are in isolation, the school said on Sunday. The Cornhuskers have not played since their eight-point loss to Indiana on Jan. 10, and have had their games against Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota and Iowa postponed as a result. They are next set to host Penn State on Jan. 30.

Nebraska has gone 4-8 so far this season and is still looking for its first win in the Big Ten. Hoiberg, the former Iowa State and Chicago Bulls player and coach, is in his second year with the Cornhuskers. They have gone 11-33 so far under his watch.

Hoiberg ended his statement with a plea to both Nebraska fans and Americans in general.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of social responsibility by wearing your mask and keeping proper social distance,” he said. “Please stay safe and healthy.”

COVID-19 ravaging college basketball

Hoiberg and Nebraska are just the latest in college basketball to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic in the past week.

Michigan State, Georgetown, West Virginia, Iowa State and Oregon all either paused activities or dealt with outbreaks last week. The Virginia women’s team ended its season early on Thursday due to health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus, too.

Hoiberg is the most recent coach to test positive, joining Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and Baylor’s Scott Drew, among others. South Carolina coach Frank Martin announced he had tested positive for the second time on Friday, following his initial diagnosis in May.

There were more than 201,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus reported on Saturday, according to The New York Times, and the country is averaging more than 224,000 new cases and more than 3,300 deaths a day.

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