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Fred Hoiberg travels to Chicago, but says nothing with Bulls is final

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AMES, IA - It's yet another near confirmation for something that seems like a forgone conclusion.

On Monday afternoon Iowa State head basketball coach Fred Hoiberg boarded a jet heading for Chicago where it is expected that he will become the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls within the next 24 hours.

At 8 P.M. Monday the Chicago Bulls announced they will have a "Major Announcement" at 2 P.M. at the Advocate Center on Tuesday.

Hoiberg spoke with reporters at the Ames Airport and confirmed that he was headed to Chicago but stopped short of saying that he would be the new Bulls' coach.

"I'm gonna go over there, I've got some meetings set for tonight," said Hoiberg to the assembled media. "That's where we're headed."

In his usual friendly manner, Hoiberg met with a small gathering of reporters on the side of the runway at the airport. He's been the coach at Iowa State, his alma mater, the past five seasons and led the Cyclones to a 115-56 record along with four NCAA Tournament appearances.

He's been courted for a few jobs since arriving in Ames but something was different about the chance to coach the Bulls at this particular time.

"This year when this opportunity came about it was something that interested me greatly," said Hoiberg of the Bulls job. "(Iowa State Athletic Director) Jamie Pollard was absolutely right, this is one of my life goals is to coach in that league. I spent 15 years in that league-10 as a player, 4 in the front office, one year kinda in between after my first heart surgery.

"It is something I've had interest in but it didn't matter what offer came last year, I wasn't taking it. This year things were a little bit different. Obviously all of us when we have life-changing things that could potentially happen you sit down with your family and you weigh everything and make the best decision you possibly can."

Hoiberg has been one of the biggest names in basketball the past few days when his name immediately surfaced following the Bulls' firing of Tom Thibodeau on Thursday. The hastag #HoibergWatch became popular on Twitter over the weekend.

It's attention the normally reserved Hoiberg was a bit embarrassed about.

"I want to apologize to everybody for just kinda the way it's all gone down to this point. With everything that's been reported out there and all the rumors and speculation that's been thrown around," said Hoiberg. "It's been very difficult to deal with that because I have not been able to comment on anything because there hasn't been anything firm out there.

"I'm not the type of guy to lie that I didn't have interest. I'm not the type of person that's going to say there is something done because there wasn't."

But as he did leave to go to Chicago, Hoiberg did confirm one thing: His appreciation for Iowa State.

"The opportunity to coach here for five years has been five of the best years of my life," said Hoiberg.

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