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AMES - Iowa State President Steven Leath expects to be involved completely in the vacant men's basketball coaching search.
At the state Board of Regents meeting on Thursday at Scheman Building, Leath told reporters he personally will interview multiple candidates alongside athletics director Jamie Pollard in a process lasting 'the next two to three weeks.”
'There has been considerable speculation on that,” Leath said about his role in the coaching search. 'I will interview all finalists. Some people seem a little surprised, but this is exactly the same process provosts use when they hire deans. It's a provost's search, but I interviewed all the finalists for deans' positions, and then I weighed in.
'I'll weigh in with my opinion to Jamie.”
Men's basketball coach Fred Hoiberg resigned after five years and accepted the Chicago Bulls' head coaching position on Tuesday. Hoiberg, an Ames native and former ISU player frequently known as 'the Mayor,” was a fan favorite. He led the Cyclones to four consecutive NCAA tournament berths and two straight Big 12 tournament titles. Iowa State was 115-56 under Hoiberg.
Iowa State is in the midst of a national search for its vacant position.
'Fred Hoiberg did a great job for us,” Leath said. 'He's an Iowa State alum, he elevated the program and he's the right kind of coach. We're thrilled that's he's getting to realize his main goal, which is to be an NBA coach.
'So Jamie and I are working hard. We will get someone who's the right fit for Iowa State, and we hope to have that process completed fairly soon.”
Leath touted Hoiberg's values, how he conducted himself on and off the court and the players' graduation rates. That's his point of focus with the coaching search.
'As far as the coaching style ability, that's for (Pollard to decide),” Leath said. 'But I definitely want someone Iowa State can be proud of and their fans can be comfortable with.”
Hoiberg's annual compensation at Iowa State reached $2.2 million along with incentives. Leath was vague on what he'd pay the next coach. But he highlighted incentives such as winning Big 12 regular-season or tournament titles.
'When I came to Iowa State, I promised Regent (Bruce) Rastetter that we'll run the university in a more businesslike fashion than we've run before,” Leath said. 'That's the approach we're taking. We're looking on a return of investment and value, so we'll probably start at some reasonable level based on experience and accomplishment. But that number can go up based on if the performance is there.
'We're pretty open-minded on that depending on who emerges at the top.”
Leath also joked to Northern Iowa President Bill Ruud about considering UNI basketball coach Ben Jacobson.
'I assured Bill we're not looking just north of town,” Leath quipped. 'We're going to be good partners.”
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