AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg boarded a flight to Chicago on Monday to meet with the Bulls about their open coaching vacancy.
Hoiberg told reporters at the airport in Ames, Iowa, that he has meetings set for Monday night but no deal with the Bulls has been finalized.
Hoiberg had long been rumored as the replacement for Tom Thibodeau, who was fired last week after five seasons in Chicago.
Hoiberg, who had open-heart surgery in April, said the speculation over his future has been "extremely tough." Hoiberg grew up in Ames and later became a star player for Iowa State before embarking on a 10-year NBA career. He has coached the Cyclones for five years.
"I want to apologize to everybody just for the way that it’s all gone down and everything that’s been reported out there and all the rumors and the speculation that’s been thrown around. It’s been very difficult to deal with that," Hoiberg said.
Hoiberg is 115-56 with the Cyclones, including four straight NCAA Tournament appearances and back-to-back Big 12 tournament titles.
Hoiberg acknowledged that several NBA teams have approached him about their vacancies in recent years. It appears that Chicago might be the one job Hoiberg won’t pass up.
"When this opportunity came about, this was something that interested me greatly," Hoiberg said. "One of my life goals is to coach in that league."