'The Mayor' seeks first victory in Columbia

Thursday, January 20, 2011 | 8:48 p.m. CST; updated 10:45 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 20, 2011
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg reacts during the second half of a loss against Kansas on Jan. 12 in Ames, Iowa. Hoiberg is seeking his first win in Columbia against Missouri on Saturday.

COLUMBIA — “The Mayor” is back.

Iowa State men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg was called “The Mayor” by his teammates at Iowa State during his college career from 1991-95 because he received multiple write-in votes in the 1993 Ames, Iowa mayoral race. As Hoiberg's popularity grew during his college career, the Iowa State fans also began using the nickname.

Hoiberg earned All-America honors in 1995, and ranks third on the Iowa State all-time scoring list with 1,993 points. Since he departed Iowa State, the Cyclones haven't forgotten his legacy. His jersey was retired in 1997, and during a Cyclones game on Feb. 9 of that same year, then-Ames Mayor Larry Curtis proclaimed it to be “Fred Hoiberg Day."

After Hoiberg spent 10 years playing in the NBA, he worked in the office of the Minnesota Timberwolves for four years. Last April, "The Mayor" was hired to return to his alma mater as the men’s basketball coach.

Despite all of the accolades that Hoiberg received during his college career at Iowa State, the teams he played on never beat Missouri in Columbia. He played against Missouri 11 times in his career, and in those 11 games, Hoiberg's teams went 3-8 against Missouri. Two of those three wins came in the Big Eight tournament, while the other came in Ames.

During Hoiberg's career, Iowa State was 0-4 in Columbia.

"We didn’t fare too well in Columbia," Hoiberg said. "We were close my senior year, but our center got a technical, which turned that game around after we had a pretty good lead on them in the second half."

In that game during Hoiberg's senior year, Missouri defeated Iowa State 59-56.

Hoiberg called Missouri one of the toughest places to play in the Big 12 Conference because it is so tough to prepare for the Tigers' fast-paced tempo.

"They play with a tremendous amount of passion in that building, it’s very energetic," Hoiberg said. "You got the Antlers there, and they played a prominent role when I was playing.

"It’s tough to prepare for Missouri. There aren’t too many teams in the country that play like them. If we try and play with them, we’re not going to beat them. You just really have to be careful going into that building and playing their style of basketball."

On this trip to Columbia, Hoiberg is bringing a young, new Iowa State team that Missouri hasn't seen before. The Cyclones have lost several key players, including Craig Brackins and Marquis Gilstrap, last season's leading scorers. Iowa State also has six newcomers on its roster.

"I'm sure (losing a coach as well as a lot of teammates) is rough," Missouri guard Marcus Denmon said. "You have a bond with your teammates and the guys you're around every day, so to lose those guys and lose your coach, I can only imagine what it'd be like. But I can't speak from experience."

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