Iowa State assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger has the support of athletic director Jamie Pollard to succeed head coach Fred Hoiberg should he leave for the Chicago Bulls, according to CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein.
Pollard said last week that Hoiberg had not indicated to him if NBA teams had interest in the coach's services.
Hoiberg, 42, has been widely regarded as the top choice to replace Tom Thibodeau in Chicago, where he played from 1999-2003. Thibodeau was fired Thursday after five seasons.
Otzelberger, 37, recently rejoined the Cyclones' staff from Washington, where he spent the past two seasons under Lorenzo Romar. Otzelberger coached at Iowa State from 2006-2013, starting as an assistant under Greg McDermott, and becoming associate head coach under Hoiberg in 2010.
Rothstein reports that other members of Iowa State's administration may need to sign off on Otzelberger's appointment before it can become official. He cited two sources in saying that Otzelberger has begun reaching out to potential members of his new staff.
During a Tailgate Tour stop in Clear Lake, Iowa last week Pollard urged fans worried about Hoiberg's potential departure to “take a step away from the ledge."
"Would I say I'm not stressed by it?" Pollard added. "That'd be not telling the truth but at the same time, it is what it is and we've just all got to deal with it—you, me, the players and the fans."
On April 1, it was announced Otzelberger would return to Hoiberg's staff to replace Matt Abdelmassih who left to take a job at St. John's under Chris Mullin. He's regarded as one of the country's top recruiters, helping Iowa State land Georges Niang, Melvin Ejim and Craig Brackins, among others, over the years.
Iowa State is regarded as a consensus Top 10 team next season, returning All-Big-12 players Niang, Monte Morris and Jameel McKay.
- Jeremy Woo