Fred Hoiberg has not been given a fair shake through his first two seasons as head coach of the Chicago Bulls, but that doesn’t mean he’ll bolt the first chance he gets.
Exhibit A: He’s coming back for next season.
A source told CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish that Hoiberg had become a “real candidate” for the Buckeyes’ gig after Thad Matta announced his resignation:
Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has emerged as a real candidate at Ohio State, a source told @CBSSports.
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) June 8, 2017
The rumor was short-lived. Asked about the chatter, Hoiberg declared his intention to remain in Chicago, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Fred Hoiberg: "Anytime your name is associated with great job, it's an honor. But I'm head coach of the Bulls/have no intention of leaving."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) June 8, 2017
This tracks with the latest, too. Sources told ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman that Ohio State has offered Creighton’s Greg McDermott its coaching position. So even if Hoiberg was an option, he isn’t anymore.
It’s like Hoiberg himself alluded to, though: Big-name coaches are always attached to prominent openings. And he remains a big deal around college basketball. Some are inclined blast him at the NBA level, but his body of work while with the Iowa State Cyclones still speaks for itself.
And this doesn’t suggest Hoiberg is a bust with the Bulls. They have yet to give him the personnel necessary to run the pace-and-space offense he was hired to implement. They’re not going to give him the requisite players next season, either. Both Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade are expected back, and starting center Robin Lopez won’t just start shooting threes. Armed with limited cap space, the odds of the Bulls deploying lineups with more than two above-average shooters in them is slim to none.
So even if Hoiberg’s situation in Chicago was coming to an end, he wouldn’t need to head back to the college game. Surrounding teams know he’s been dealt a crappy hand. He has to know it, too. Though there would have been something poetic, if hysterical, about him sticking it to the Bulls before they have the opportunity to make him their scapegoat, there’s not enough momentum behind his “failure” label, and rightly so, to lure him away from the pros after just two seasons at the helm.