- Fred Hoiberg - Iowa State Cyclones
That's right, he's only been in the conference for one year, but I'm ready to christen Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg the boldest coach in the Big 12. Frankly, he's one of the boldest high major conference coaches in the country. Even Hoiberg's hiring was bold: he was a former star with no coaching experience that Iowa State's athletic director Jamie Pollard decided to give a chance to revitalize the program. Since taking the job, Hoiberg has made Iowa State the top transfer destination across the country. Every time an impact player is transferring, the Cyclones are more often than not at the top of the list. Currently on Iowa State's roster are seven transfers (not to mention two more players out of community college). There are only 15 players total. Players come from Minnesota, Michigan State (two), Utah, Penn State, Southern Illinois and Marquette. Only Penn State and Southern Illinois are schools of a similar or lower pedigree. Taking all of these transfers is definitely a bold move by Hoiberg, but there's no doubt that the Cyclones are much more talented than they would be otherwise.
Scott Drew is sneaky bold. His boyish looks give him an innocence that may or may not be in line with reality. No, there haven't been any major violations against the Bears on his watch and he's done a great job reinvigorating a program on the brink of extinction. That said, Drew isn't exactly taking the safe road. Drew has been going after high profile recruits with surprising success. Perry Jones III brought his talents to Waco last year, which caused many people to raise a couple eyebrows (it should be noted, the NCAA did investigate Drew and his staff for their recruitment of a different player). This season the Bears have an even more talented class coming to town, and Jones has decided to return for his sophomore season despite being a likely top five pick in the NBA draft. After serving the rest of his suspension for taking improper benefits from an agent, Jones will join Quincy Miller and uber-athlete Deuce Bello to make the Bears one of the teams to beat in the Big 12 this season. It's still "to be determined" on whether Drew's practices will make Baylor a annual conference contender or pariah.**
**Author's note: I think it's very interesting that Drew hasn't had tons of interest from higher paying jobs since putting Baylor on the map. This either says, athletic directors want some continued success (especially outside of recruiting) or they want to make sure there's not fire behind the smokey NCAA investigations.
Billy Gillispie hasn't coached a game for Texas Tech, but he's no stranger to the Big 12. He coached as an assistant at Baylor in the late 90's before revitalizing UTEP and then returning to the Big 12 to coach Texas A&M from 2004 until 2007 (taking them as far as the Sweet 16 in 2007). In a bizarre move, Kentucky took a chance with the Texan despite relatively modest success (he was a terrific rebuilder), which was a total failure for both sides. Now Gillispie is back in the Lonestar state in what I think is the perfect job (i.e. it's in Texas, it's a program that needs a thorough rebuilding and it has reasonable expectations). That said, Gillispie definitely will make some pretty bold changes in Lubbock, and I expect the Red Raiders will improve because of them.