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Fred Hoiberg became 'The Mayor' of Ames, but he's always been a Nebraskan, down to his deepest roots

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Bob Devaney

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Yellow House

“It was white when we lived there,” said Eric Hoiberg, Fred’s father, during a recent tour of the neighborhood where his son grew up. The two-story house was the Hoiberg home for more than 30 years and is close to Hilton Coliseum, where Fred would play his college basketball for Iowa State. 

White house

A still-growing Fred in front of the family home in Ames.

Red hat

Eric Hoiberg wears a red cowboy hat at a Nebraska football game in the early 1960s. He and his future wife, Karen, stood next to each other in the stands of Memorial Stadium for Bob Devaney’s first game as NU's football coach, a 53-0 win over South Dakota.

Baby Fred with Grandpa Bush

Fred Hoiberg was born in Lincoln in October 1972. Here he is being held by his grandfather, Jerry Bush, the former Nebraska basketball coach.

Ames Basketball

Fred Hoiberg started putting up big numbers on the basketball court as a sophomore at Ames High, when he averaged 26 points and 14 rebounds per game. He’d only have about 5 points in the first quarter, his coach Wayne Clinton, said, making sure the rest of the team got into the flow. He’d maybe have 11 by halftime. “Then, all of a sudden, you look up and he has 25," Clinton said. Ames won the Iowa 3A (large school) state title in 1990, Fred's senior year, beating Waterloo East, 79-63. Karen Hoiberg still keeps a clip from the Ames Tribune.

Fred and Carol

Fred and future wife, Carol, in high school. They both attended Iowa State. 

Iowa State

Fred Hoiberg was deadly from long range as a Cyclone and led Iowa State to two straight NCAA tournament berths. He averaged 20.2 points as a junior and 19.9 as a senior. He made 183 3-pointers in his college career.

Hoiberg and Orr pictures

Wall-hangings of Johnny Orr and Fred Hoiberg were part of the ambiance at Wallaby’s Bar and Grille in Ames. But now, the print of Hoiberg, no longer a Cyclone coach, is relegated to basement storage with only empty space on the wall next to Orr.

Hoiberg and Orr

Johnny Orr, left, and Fred Hoiberg are both held in similar high regard around Ames. Orr spent 14 years as the Cyclone coach, Hoiberg only five.

Coaching Iowa State

In five seasons, Fred Hoiberg led Iowa State to a 115-56 record, including a 99-40 mark in his final four seasons when the Cyclones made four-straight NCAA tournament appearances. He also led Iowa State to back-to-back Big 12 tournament titles in 2014 and 2015.


Hoiberg family ancestors lived in the tiny central Nebraska town of Nysted beginning in the early 1900s. These pictures, from 1979, are of a Danish folk school started in 1887 by Danish immigrants and the pulpit and alter from St. Peder's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Hoiberg family at intro presser

Fred Hoiberg became Nebraska's 28th men's basketball coach on April 2 when he was introduced by Athletic Director Bill Moos during a press conference attended by many members of the Hoiberg family who filled two rows, including Fred's parents Eric and Karen. The family was presented with a framed copy of the 1954 press release introducing Karen's father, Jerry Bush, as NU's 21st basketball coach.

Chris Heady covers Husker football and is the Nebraska men's basketball beat writer. He started at The World-Herald in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @heady_chris. Email:

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