A coaching question that has dominated the NBA throughout this season is the status of Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, with various reports surfacing that issues between he and the front office would lead to a separation once the season came to an end. And the name that has come up on multiple occasions regarding a possible replacement is that of Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg, who’s won back-to-back Big 12 tournament titles at his alma mater.
With the Bulls’ season now complete, as they fell to Cleveland in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the rumor mill got going again last week. For some, that alone would be reason to worry but that isn’t the case for Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard.
During a stop on the Cyclone Tailgate Tour, Pollard both reiterated that Hoiberg has not told him of any plans to move on and also noted that this is not a time to panic according to the Des Moines Register.
Later on Wednesday in Clear Lake, Pollard urged fans to “take a step away from the ledge.”
“I recognize it’s tough on you guys, it’s tough on the players (and) it’s tough on the fans,” Pollard said.
It’s been tough on Pollard too.
“Would I say I’m not stressed by it?” Pollard asked. “That’d be not telling the truth but at the same time, it is what it is and we’ve just all got to deal with it — you, me, the players and the fans.”
No program wants to lose a coach as successful as Hoiberg’s been in Ames. But there’s only so much that can be done, especially when the “opening” he’s rumored to be in line for doesn’t even exist. Chicago’s made no move regarding the status of Thibodeau, and while the aforementioned reports of discord are to be noted there’s a difference between discussing possible moves and actually making them.
Pollard also made note of the fact that the program is better positioned to handle a possible change than it was five years ago, thanks to the work that Hoiberg and his staff have managed to do. Should there be a need to find a new head coach, that definitely helps.
But whether or not there’s a need to do so remains unknown. And given the fact that Chicago still has a head coach, that will remain the case until a move is made there. There really isn’t a whole lot to panic over right now, but a wise athletic director stays prepared for the possibility of needing to make a head coaching hire.