Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg was nicknamed "The Mayor" during his playing days with the school, and in living up to the leadership quality that comes with the title, he's helping to promote peace in the community.
As part of the 11 Days of Global Unity that was observed in Ames beginning Sept. 11, Hoiberg called for mutual respect and understanding both on and off the court in teaming up with actual town mayor Ann Campbell for a piece that was published in several local newspapers.
A respectful tone and discourse is equally important on the basketball court -- or any athletic venue. Sport has evolved into a highly visible and relatively influential part of our society -- especially in a town like Ames. Kids follow with great interest what we do on the court. Often they emulate the actions of players on the court. Athletic excellence rooted in respect for the game and fellow competitors is as fundamental as a crisp bounce pass.
Diversity is one of the fantastic elements of sports. I have played with, and now have the privilege to coach, individuals from virtually every imaginable background. To win, it is absolutely essential that the entire team works as a fluid unit -- both on and off the court. The first step is to understand and respect the varied backgrounds of every individual on the team. We establish lines of communication and dialogue, which build trust -- which in turn melds into the chemistry of a winning team.
Hoiberg might be an ex-jock, but he's the son of educators and was an academic All-American during his senior year at Iowa State.
For him, teaching others what he's learned on the court doesn't end with only his players.