One of the most memorable moments from new men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg’s introductory press conference on Tuesday was his entrance.
With cheerleaders lining both sides of the third floor elevator door at Memorial Stadium, the newly decorated doors opened in a fashion reminiscent to a vault being unlocked. Behind the doors were Hoiberg and his wife, Athletic Director Bill Moos and surprise guest Scott Frost.
The inclusion of Frost almost seemed too perfect, as his introductory press conference took place in the same room 17 months and one day prior and signified the other major hire Moos made in his time at Nebraska.
But it turns out, the entrance may not have been planned at all.
“I don’t know if that was planned or not,” Frost said after practice on Wednesday. “I wasn’t trying to be in the posse, I was just excited to see it.”
Frost was invited to meet Hoiberg prior to the event in Moos’s office. Other members of his staff showed up early to the event, standing in the back with other members of the athletics department such as women’s basketball coach Amy Williams.
Frost walked over to the conference with the rest of Hoiberg’s group and said “the next thing I knew, I was in an elevator with them.”
Since Hoiberg’s hire was made official last Saturday, plenty of comparisons have been made between the two. Hoiberg is 46, while Frost is 44. Both have blonde hair and were collegiate stars in their respective sports during the ‘90s. Both coaches were even born in Nebraska, albeit Hoiberg moved to Ames, Iowa, when he was two years old.
“I’d be flattered if there was comparisons,” Frost said. “I think he was a heck of an athlete and he’s a heck of a coach. I’ll let other people draw parallels, but I’m just excited to have him.”
Hoiberg said he plans on being on the sidelines during the spring game on April 13, as well as games in the fall. While coaching the Chicago Bulls, he befriended Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy, who led the Bears to an NFC North division championship in his first season on the job.
Nagy, like Frost, is known for his offensive scheme. His offensive coordinator, Mark Helfrich, was Frost’s boss when he was the offensive coordinator at Oregon.
“I went and spent a day with Matt and the Bears and just watched how he did it and everything,” Hoiberg said. “He had a great offensive mind, so I am going to give Scott a few things to look at.”
Hoiberg himself grew up a Nebraska football fan despite his loyalties to Iowa State. He was the quarterback on his high school’s football team and was offered a scholarship to play football for Tom Osborne in 1991.
“That was such a thrill for me to be recruited by a guy that I looked up to,” Hoiberg said. “He was kind of a larger-than-life figure, to be honest with you, when you grow up a Nebraska football fan.”
With Hoiberg opting to stick to basketball, Osborne settled with signing two quarterbacks, Tommie Frazier and Brook Berringer.
To this day, Hoiberg is of the belief that had he chosen to play football at Nebraska instead, he would have had to put on weight and switch his position to tight end.
“I could’ve been Gronk before Gronk was Gronk,” he joked.
While there is still plenty of excitement around the new hire, Frost made sure to give his respects to the program’s former coach, Tim Miles.
“I was really good friends with Tim,” Frost said. “I think he did some really good things here, but I’m also really excited about the future here with Fred. We’re going to be on a similar track trying to get these two programs to where they belong and I can’t wait to watch him work.”
As for the similarities in the two athlete-turned-coaching star introductions, Frost saw them as well.
“Everything looked kind of the same, it gave me some flashbacks,” Frost said. “He handled everything well. You can tell how polished he is, and his track record speaks for itself. I’m excited to watch them practice.”