I will admit I have been a little skeptical of the Hoiberg hire. I think that is fair since he doesn't have any experience coaching. There is one thing I hadn't really considered as strongly as I should have upon hearing the news at first that I really think should be mentioned. Being an ISU basketball fan is a lot of fun again.
Sometimes people like myself care a little bit too much about prognosticating. I read somewhere today that trying to say who will be a successful coach is like saying who had the best NFL draft on April 30th. You just don't know until a few years pass. So many fans are obsessed with saying one hire is better than another (The Fred/Fran debate among Iowa and ISU fans is currently in full swing). You know what, Fran may have more experience. He is a good coach. However we really don't know if his chances of success are better than Fred's. I think so far Fred has surrounded himself with people who can help him succeed: TJ who knows recruiting in the Midwest, and Grayer who can mentor the kids, and hopefully an old hand in the biz who will show him the ropes. There will be growing pains with both and no amount of experience makes anybody a sure thing at difficult schools to coach like Iowa State and Iowa.
However I exchanged emails yesterday with a good friend of mine who was wondering what I thought of the hire. I get this question a lot because most of my co-workers know I'm a huge ISU nerd especially in regard to basketball. She and her husband are Iowa State basketball fans and usually hit up a couple of games every year. Something really jumped out at me from her email:
"I'm even tempted to get season tickets next year now that Hoiberg was hired, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels that way. Call me fair weather if you want, but ISU basketball was getting really depressing."
I just never expected to hear that she might get season tickets, and I highly doubt she is the only one with those sentiments. ISU basketball was really depressing, it wasn't just getting there. I won't ever throw the fair weather label on anybody who bothered following the team the last few years. I had a tough time getting up for some of those late games last year and I flat out just didn't go to the CU game.
Had we hired Billy Gillispie or a mid-major guy, the fan base would have continued to be divided because of his off-court issues or the fact that they didn't have experience at the major conference level. I still think this whole thing working out exactly as we fans would hope is a long shot, however, everybody is fired up right now and ISU basketball is fun again. Hilton will be a heck of a lot of fun again.
Ultimately, winning is fun. Winning is what it's all about, but I'm not one of those folks that thinks sports is some metaphor for society, culture, or some greater value system. Sports is entertainment for 90% of people that hit Hilton Coliseum. And right now being an ISU fan is incredibly entertaining and as someone else said "The enthusiasm bucket is overflowing".
I'll sum it up with a quote from one of my favorite movies, "Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." Hope hadn't died for ISU basketball but it was on an iron lung. Now, like the 6 million dollar man, it is rebuilt, stronger and faster than before. Hop on fans, it's going to be a great time in Ames next season.
***If my email buddy reads this, hey, I didn't mean to single you out, it just got me thinkin'!