CHICAGO (AP) Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg was reunited with his former Iowa State players and coaching staff on Wednesday.
Less than a year after leaving the Cyclones to accept the Bulls’ job, Hoiberg greeted the team as it prepared for its Sweet Sixteen matchup against No. 1 seed Virginia at the United Center on Friday night.
Hoiberg was 115-56 in five seasons as coach of the Cyclones and guided them to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2014.
The Cyclones met with Hoiberg on Wednesday at the Bulls’ practice facility, where Hoiberg addressed the team hours before the Bulls’ matchup against the New York Knicks.
Hoiberg will miss Iowa State’s game on Friday while the Bulls are on a two-game road trip, but he expects to be at the game on Sunday if the Cyclones advance.
“It’s really cool. I told them to take of business because we will be on the road. I’ll be in a bar in Orlando watching somewhere. I already have a ticket for Sunday so I’m ready to watch them cut down those nets and go to the Final Four,” Hoiberg said.
Hoiberg has a special connection with Iowa State since he grew up in Ames and starred for the Cyclones from 1991-95. He garnered the nickname “The Mayor.”
“The biggest thing is not only as a former coach and the relationship with those guys and as alumni of the university is just how proud I am with those group of guys. I told them to step back and enjoy it. That’s one thing I regret. I did not do that,” Hoiberg said.
Iowa State players and coaching staff were expected to be in attendance to watch the Bulls play Wednesday.
“Obviously it is a group of guys that are really special. I have a big place in my heart for them. I’m certainly going to cheer them on hard this weekend,” said Hoiberg.