LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska has built some of the best basketball facilities in the country the last decade and plays in a sold-out arena. Now the Cornhuskers believe they have the missing piece to turn the starved-for-success program into a Big Ten contender.
Fred Hoiberg was officially introduced as the Huskers’ new coach on Tuesday, and a packed news conference at Memorial Stadium resembled a pep rally with 300 in attendance and cheerleaders greeting him as he stepped off the elevator and made his way to the dais.
“We’re all in on basketball, I can tell you that,” athletic director Bill Moos said afterward. “I think people will walk away from here today feeling all in as well. It’s going to be a great time.”
The 46-year-old Hoiberg is back in the college game after being fired by the Chicago Bulls four months ago. He starred at Iowa State, played 10 years in the NBA and had a front office job with the Timberwolves before he returned to ISU and coached the Cyclones to four NCAA Tournaments between 2010-15.
He said he had contact with other schools but was drawn to Nebraska because of his ties to the state and university. His maternal grandfather, Jerry Bush, was head basketball coach from 1954-63, his parents are graduates and his paternal grandfather was a longtime professor. Hoiberg was born in Lincoln and a niece was a student manager for the Huskers this past season.
“It’s such a thrill for me to be able to walk — even though in a different building — on the same sideline as my grandfather did,” Hoiberg said. “We want this to be our last stop. We feel we can build a program that consistently wins.”