Fred Hoiberg makes Ames proud

The Mayor is back. After 15 years playing and working in the NBA, Fred Hoiberg is now in his first year as the new coach of the Iowa State Cyclones. “It means the world for me to be coaching here,” said Hoiberg, and I hope to make the people of Ames proud.” Hoiberg is eager to please the people of Ames in part because of their untiring support for him in his childhood. “A lot of people from Ames who watch our games have supported me my whole life, from Ames High School to helping to send me to AAU tournaments, and they’re back here supporting me now, so that means a lot to me,” Hoiberg said. Ames has certainly been a key part of Hoiberg’s childhood. He met his wife, Carol, right here at Ames High, and even went to prom with her. This is also the only place that he’s won a championship in his illustrious career. However, that’s not the thing he misses most about Ames High: “I loved every moment of my Ames High career, but I guess the biggest thing that I miss is that I was a lot younger and a lot better looking back then.” Another thing that is missed about the Hoiberg era in Ames is the Cyclones’ winning tradition. Not too long after Hoiberg graduated in 1995, the Clones basketball program took a nosedive. In the last decade, Iowa State has made just one NCAA tournament, and has only had one winning record in the Big XII. And although his first season has had some bumps in the road (just three Big XII wins to date), Hoiberg believes he can instill the winning tradition back into this team in the same way he did when he last arrived in 1991. “I’ve got a great group of kids that they go out and battle every day," he said. Even though we’ve lost a lot of close games, they go out and give a great effort, and continue to help find us ways to keep us in games so we have a chance to win.” Though their record doesn’t show it, the Cyclones have had their share of competitive games. It’s just a matter of turning those close losses into close wins. Just ask University of Nebraska head coach Doc Saddler. “The Cyclones have a great team,” said Saddler at a post-game press conference. “They’ve dropped some close games, but Fred is doing a great job coaching here getting his boys ready to play.” One aspect of the team that could transform the Cyclones into Big XII contenders immediately is next year’s recruiting class and scout team. “We’ve got a great group of guys coming in, not only the scout team, but we’ve also got a nice recruiting class coming in,” Hoiberg said . “We’ll be deeper, next year, and hopefully we’ll go out, get off to a good start, build chemistry, and find a way to win those close games.” If they do, perhaps it will mark the return of Hilton Magic. For years, the Cyclones teams of the 80s and 90s were helped by an incredible home-court advantage that came to be known simply as Hilton Magic (named for the Cyclones’ basketball stadium, Hilton Coliseum). In past years, however, this Cyclone tradition seems to have all but disappeared. Hoiberg believes that Ames fans are the kind that will continue to support the team no matter the results. “One thing I know about Hilton Coliseum from growing up watching games here, is that whether you win or lose, if you go out and show effort and play hard, the fans will support you, and they’ve certainly done that for us all year," Hoiberg said. "It’s been a big factor in some of our games so far.” Cyclone fans can only hope that with a return of Hilton Magic and a new class of players coming in, Hoiberg can revert the team back to its winning ways. After all, from playing on AAU teams to Ames High to Iowa State, Hoiberg has instilled a winning tradition everywhere he’s played in Ames. With any luck, he’ll make the city of Ames proud one more time.