Iowa St looking for "return on investment" with new coach

AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State President Steven Leath said Thursday he is ''open minded'' about how much the university is willing to pay its next basketball coach.

The Cyclones largesse will apparently have its limits.

Leath spoke to reporters for the first time since Fred Hoiberg left to take over the NBA's Chicago Bulls. Leath said he intends to be interview all the finalists identified by athletic director Jamie Pollard and weigh in with his opinion before Pollard makes the final decision.

Hoiberg made $2.2 million plus incentives last season on a contract that, had he stayed through 2023, would have topped out at $3 million annually.

''We're looking on return on investment and value. So we will probably start with some reasonable level based on experience and accomplishments. But that number could go up if the performance is there,'' Leath said. ''We'd like to go with performance incentives and put some of the salary at risk in terms of, did they win the Big 12 championships or the Big 12 regular season outright or the tournament.''

Leath was vague when asked about a timetable for hiring a new coach, saying only that there's ''more than one candidate'' to be interviewed and that the hire should be completed in the ''next two to three weeks.''

The new coach will have to work hard to win over a rabid fan base that hoped Hoiberg would never leave.

Hoiberg, a former star player for Iowa State in the 1990s, went 115-56 in five seasons, with four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and two straight Big 12 tournament titles.

''Fred will be a tough person to replace,'' Leath said.

Iowa State returns six of its top eight players from last season's 25-win team and should start 2015-16 in the top10. Pollard said following Hoiberg's departure that he won't comment on the coaching search until it's over.

Hoiberg will return to Iowa on Friday and meet with local media for likely the last time before he puts all of his efforts into the Bulls.

Hoiberg replaced Tom Thibodeau, who was fired after five seasons despite taking Chicago to the Eastern Conference semifinals following a 50-win regular season.

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Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

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