By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fred Hoiberg has seen much: an NBA career, a near death experience due to a heart condition, and a return to his roots at Iowa State University, where he is trying to get the Cyclones back to prominence.

Jamie Pollard, Iowa State University’s athletic director, said that almost as soon as he thought of Hoiberg as a possible head coach, he asked the university’s president if an interview could be set up.

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“If I think that he is ready, I think we should do it. He’s the guy that we should go with,” Pollard remembers saying.

And they did.

Hoiberg is currently in his second season as head coach at the university and he’s enjoying being back home.

Hoiberg’s wife, Carol Hoiberg, is also from Iowa, so family is something that has anchored him to the university and the city of Ames. Along with their four children, she said having lots of family around makes things easier.

“It’s been great being home,” Fred Hoiberg said. “All the people that supported me growing up, they’re still here.”

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Hoiberg described the university’s environment as “awesome,” and said that Ames is a very passionate sports town.

Despite his love for the sport, Hoiberg said he quickly learned that coaching is stressful. But to cope with the stress, Hoiberg said he embraced the competition – his favorite aspect of coaching.

Considering that a heart issue forced Hoiberg to quit the NBA early, health is always on the mind. Luckily, Hoiberg says he’s feeling alright and receives routine check ups.

“My pacemaker is working overtime with the coaching,” he said. “But I feel good; I’m very fortunate I get checked out every six months.”

Although he’s only been coaching at the university for a little more than one season, the community has taken to him, Pollard said.

For Hoiberg, however, he’s always been tied to the university.

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“I’m very passionate about this sports town,” he said. “My dad is a professor here, my mom is an elementary school teacher, and I want to do the people proud.”

Mike Max