He wasn't paraded through Ames, Iowa, on a chariot when he took his family to lunch. And the loyal Iowa State fans didn't carry shovels to clear paths for him while he slushed around campus in those deep Midwestern winters. Only because he never asked.
If Fred Hoiberg had demanded those perks, Cyclones supporters would have fought one another in the streets for the right to provide them.
Iowa State's marriage to Hoiberg, a former star for the Cyclones, began at birth. His vibrant backers hoped he'd stay forever once he returned to coach his alma mater five years ago, although every sign suggested he'd eventually leave for the NBA. The love-struck never see an inevitable breakup coming, though.
From the outside, it's not surprising that he is the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls. It's probably more surprising that he didn't leave earlier. Hoiberg Watch began the day he arrived.
His story is a familiar tale in college basketball. It's almost cliché now. Hoiberg was the hometown kid who starred in three sports and attended college down the block at Iowa State University, where his father worked, before commencing a lengthy NBA career. After a heart ailment ended his pro aspirations, he spent some time in the Minnesota Timberwolves front office and then became the head coach of his spiraling alma mater in 2010. Hoiberg, too, had open heart surgery in April.
Now, Iowa State basketball is a Disney movie.
He has led the Cyclones to the NCAA tournament in four of his five seasons. They won the 2014 and 2015 Big 12 tourney titles in Kansas City. Plus, he's assembled a group that will crack the top five of every meaningful set of rankings entering 2015-16. But it's deeper than that.
The admiration that's followed Hoiberg has intensified each year because he restored Iowa State's relevance.
Longtime supporters will remind you of the dark days that followed the Marcus Fizer-Jamaal Tinsley stints. The one NCAA tournament appearance (2005) between 2002 and 2011. The 18-46 Big 12 record in the four seasons under Greg McDermott that preceded Hoiberg's return.
If you wanted a ticket during that rough period, you didn't buy it in advance. You just walked up to the ticket booth prior to tipoff. There were plenty.
And then, Hoiberg returned. He brought promises. He told athletic director Jamie Pollard that he wanted to win immediately. He needed elite athletes. The players who could help Iowa State beat Kansas and make a run in the NCAA tournament. He needed some rope and trust, though. He wanted to take chances. He had to.
So Iowa State became a hub for young men seeking second chances. Most new coaches would temper those pursuits for fear that a bunch of red-flag kids would lead to a bunch of bad PR and drama. Yet, he's mined the transfer market with as much success as any coach in the country.
Royce White got expelled from his first high school after his junior season and never played for Minnesota due to legal issues. But he left Ames as a lottery pick. DeAndre Kane was the hothead you didn't want in your locker room. For Iowa State, he was the leader who helped the program win the 2014 Big 12 tournament championship.
That recruiting approach bought Hoiberg valuable time. He could rely on those ambitious, this-is-my-last-shot veterans while youngsters named Georges Niang, Naz Long and Monte Morris developed. Niang will enter next season as a Wooden Award candidate and the leader of a top-five roster that could contend for the Big 12 and national titles.
It's important to note that Iowa State was Hoiberg's first head coaching gig at any level.
Five years into his coaching career, Mike Krzyzewski commanded a 9-17 Army squad. Dean Smith's 1965-66 North Carolina squad finished in a tie for third in the ACC and secured a 16-11 record. Hoiberg won 25 games in his fifth season five years after Iowa State ended its 2009-10 campaign with a 15-17 record overall and 4-12 tally in conference play.
His rapid success only magnified the anticipation -- and fear for Iowa State fans -- that surrounded his eventual departure. Hoiberg never hid his NBA dreams. Pollard often stated that he expected Hoiberg to turn pro one day. Hoiberg's contract, which features a $2 million buyout if he leaves for another college team and a $500,000 buyout if he jumps to the NBA, was essentially written around that likelihood.
Hoiberg would never leave Iowa State for another Division I school. But, it seems, he couldn't resist the NBA any longer.
Hoiberg achieved plenty in a short stretch. Iowa State had no place on the national map when he came home. Now, he is set to leave a team with the juice to compete with the best programs in America. After five seasons.
He never reached a Final Four or won a Big 12 title. But he lured premier athletes to Ames. He built a foundation that the next coach will enjoy. He beat Kansas. His teams defeated rival Iowa four times in five tries. He made Iowa State a player again.
When Hoiberg returned home in 2010, everyone called him The Mayor.
He should leave with a new name after authoring a five-year fairy tale in Ames, Iowa: The Prince.