A little more than three years ago, Fred Hoiberg was a sought-after coaching property, with three seasons and 62 wins under his belt as coach of Iowa State, connections throughout the league (particularly in Chicago and Minnesota) and an NBA playing career that spanned 10 years and three teams.But after three full seasons and 24 games into his fourth, Hoiberg has been let go by the Bulls. It’s a disappointing end to his time as an NBA coach, for now at least. Hoiberg was supposed to be a hybrid of Steve Kerr and Brad Stevens, a heady NBA role player like Kerr who could bring some collegiate ball-movement principles to the evolving pro game, as Stevens had done. MORE: Jimmy Butler can see a future in PhiladelphiaInstead, Hoiberg never had a chance. Ask scouts, and Hoiberg would likely be named one of the worst coaches in the league. But he was set up for failure by the Bulls’ front office combo of Gar Forman (a Hoiberg friend) and John Paxson. Hoiberg was always a lost coach looking for direction from above. The Bulls never gave him a clear and consistent one, not until it was already too late. Hoiberg counted himself lucky when he first got the Bulls job.”A lot of coaches don’t walk into this,” he said at the time. “You don’t walk into a roster that has championship potential, that absolutely can compete at that level.”Back then, the Bulls — built around Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol — had won 50 games and were just weeks removed from having reached the conference semis, where they gave the Cavaliers a decent run before a Gasol injury dinged their chances.But that championship potential quickly disappeared, and it was soon evident that Hoiberg had walked into something much different than he’d thought.Rose was engulfed in controversy stemming from a rape charge, comments made about his free agency and surgery he would need on his eye socket before the season started. Noah broke down physically and played only 29 games. Butler publicly criticized Hoiberg’s coaching style just two months into his tenure, undermining his coach from the get-go.Chicago went 42-40, missed the playoffs and was rumored to be considering a new direction altogether — a full rebuild. The team was able to dump Rose to the Knicks, and was a hair’s breadth away from sending Butler to Minnesota on the night of the 2016 draft before the deal fell through.MORE: Derrick Rose wants to win Sixth Man of the YearThe decision to bring back Butler might well have sealed Hoiberg’s fate. If the Bulls had done what they should have — get young assets and give their bright young coach some bright young players to begin to mold — we’d have a better sense of how Hoiberg might fit as an NBA head coach.Instead, the Bulls piled onto the decision to keep Butler by bringing in renowned pain-in-the-ankle Rajon Rondo and veteran Dwyane Wade, yoking Hoiberg with three guards who don’t shoot particularly well and who never got along particularly well. Hoiberg had a set of headaches even the most seasoned coaches could not shake.It was only after the Bulls finished 41-41 and lost in the first round of the postseason that the franchise finally bought into a rebuilding plan. For Hoiberg, that was a year too late. He’d been scarred by his first two seasons in Chicago, his ability to maintain control of an NBA locker room already in question. The Bulls won 27 games last season, better than expected, and Hoiberg did a nice job teaching his offense and developing budding young star Lauri Markkanen. The young Bulls responded better to Hoiberg, and there was even a midseason 16-8 run, before the stretch-run tanking kicked in. After two seasons of tumult, Hoiberg was finally doing the job to which he is best suited: teacher and rebuilder. He might have continued that progress into this season, except that three expected starters — Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis — have been dealing with injuries and only played a combined six games.Little wonder the Bulls are off to a 5-19 start. No team could withstand the loss of three starters, but especially not one as young and thin as the Bulls.But the Bulls held out Hoiberg as the fall guy for the bad start. Of course, it’s not his fault. By shifting directions and, now, shifting blame, the Bulls had set him up for failure all along.