AMES, Iowa - Prior to boarding a plane that is bound for Chicago, Fred Hoiberg provided several comments about the reports of him possibly leaving Iowa State to coach the Chicago Bulls.
Hoiberg discussed the reports in detail, including what he's been going through the past several days.
"It’s been extremely tough," Hoiberg told Channel 13 News. "I want to apologize to everybody for just kind of the way it has all gone down at this point. With everything that’s been reported out there, all the rumors, and the speculation that’s been thrown around, it’s been very difficult to deal with that. I have not been able to comment on anything because there hadn’t been anything firm out there. I’m not the type of guy that’s going to lie and say I didn’t have interest. I’m not the type of person to say that there was something done because there wasn’t. A lot of this was going on at time when there was still a lot of things to be played out."
The former Bulls player was also asked about the Iowa State fans and whether loyalty to Ames has played a role in the process.
Well absolutely [it played a factor]. I don’t think it’s any secret that there’s been several teams that have had interest in the past several seasons. That has been out there but nothing has even been close to happening over the last few years. This year, when this opportunity came about, it was something that interest me greatly," Hoiberg said. "I understand when you’re going through these types of things, even if you don’t take a position, there’s still disappointment because, well, is the loyalty there? I get the passion of this place, I grew up here, I understand all that. It is such a tough decision and that’s why I have passed up on great opportunities here the past couple years. I think the big thing is, you know the way we structured my contract, I would never have left Iowa State for another college job. It wouldn’t have happened and it wouldn’t have mattered which program would have called, this is where I wanted to be."
Hoiberg confirmed he is heading to Chicago and has meetings scheduled with the Bulls organization Monday night.
"This is one [opportunity] that was very interesting to me," Hoiberg added. "Just because I played there [Chicago] and it’s a great organization. I have connections in that organization and we’ll see how tonight goes. That’s where things are and nothing has been finalized at this point. We’ll see how it all plays out, I’m going in there with an open mind and that’s kind of how I’ve approached this whole thing. I obviously have an unbelievable job with unbelievable support, and that stuff is tough to replace. It’s been emotional, it really has. These are big life changes.”
Sources close to the situation told Channel 13 Sports on Sunday that Hoiberg would be on his way to Chicago on Monday to finalize a deal to become the head coach of the Bulls. Both parties have already agreed to a five-year deal in principle.
The team is expected to announce the hiring later on Monday, followed by a formal press conference set for Tuesday.
Chicago dismissed former head coach Tom Thibodeau on Thursday with two years and $9 million left on his contract. The firing brought an end to a toxic relationship between Thibodeau and Bulls management, which was an organizational issue for years.