Fred Hoiberg had an eventful few days last week.
He spent the first part of the week on spring break with his twin sons in the Dominican Republic. Hoiberg changed his travel plans after Michigan State reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, flying directly to Washington, D.C., instead of home to Chicago, in order to be there for his oldest son, Jack, a freshman walk-on for the Spartans.
In the middle of all that, Hoiberg on Saturday was named men’s basketball coach at Nebraska.
“It’s just really been an incredible week,” Hoiberg said by phone Thursday, after visiting recruits and before traveling to Minneapolis for the Final Four.
This weekend represents a homecoming for the Hoiberg family. Fred is a former Timberwolves player and executive. Jack’s childhood involved several relocations because of his dad’s playing and coaching career, but he considers the Twin Cities home because he lived here the longest. His family lived in Chaska for seven years before moving to Iowa in sixth grade. He still keeps in touch with friends from elementary school.
“This place means a lot to me,” he said.
Jack originally committed to play Division I golf at the University of South Dakota, but he decided to accept a preferred walk-on invitation from Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
“I always grew up dreaming of playing college basketball,” he said.
Jack Hoiberg played high school basketball in Ames, Iowa (where his father is a legend) and Chicago (where his father was often criticized as Bulls coach before being fired after 5-19 start this season).
Neither situation was particularly easy.
“Once we got to Chicago, you go into a place and if you’re going through a tough stretch, you’re going to get heckled and they’re going to chant things at you,” Fred said. “It really honestly I think helped Jack. It made him a tougher person and a tougher player.”
Jack grew up watching video with his dad at home at night, learning the game from a coach’s perspective. He said coaching is “definitely a possibility down the road.”
Maybe on his dad’s staff?
“I think Jack would make a great coach someday,” Fred said.
Jack said he could tell his dad was itching to get back to work when he visited him recently.
“I’d ask him what he’s been doing and he’d go, ‘Sitting around,’ ” Jack said. “I’d be like, ‘Man you’ve got to get back out there.’ I’m just glad he’s got a good opportunity.”
Now for the weird part. Father and son will be on opposite benches next season as Big Ten rivals.
“Well, I’m looking forward to hopefully going out to dinner with him the night before the game and trying to get the game plan out of him,” Fred joked. “But I’m so proud of him for everything that he has done. It’s fun to see him out there having the success that he’s had.”