Weber was greeted at Bramlage Coliseum Saturday by a small group of fans who had been planning to support another candidate, and who were displeased with the hiring of a coach recently fired by Illinois. Weber is confident he'll win them over.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Bruce, Megan and the entire Weber family to our K-State family,” said Athletics Director John Currie. “Coach Weber exemplifies everything that we were looking for in our next coach, and I look forward to Wildcat Nation having the opportunity to get to know him and his family. Coach Weber’s success as a head coach speaks for itself, which includes eight trips to the NCAA Tournament and a national championship game appearance in 2005. But what impresses me even more about Coach Weber are his core values and belief in the advancement of his players not only on the court but also as model student-athletes and citizens. We said at the beginning of this process that we will focus our search on candidates whose personal values and integrity reflect those of our university and citizens of the state of Kansas and who appreciate the unique opportunity of being part of a strong basketball heritage, and we are confident that Bruce Weber is that person."
Weber was fired by Illinois after compiling 210-101 record over nine seasons, including six trips to the NCAA tournament and a national runner-up finish in 2005. The Illini went 17-15 and 6-12 in the Big Ten this season.
Weber took over a program at Illinois that had been built into a perennial contender under Bill Self. He never seemed entirely comfortable following Self at Illinois, and now he'll be matching wits with the Jayhawks' coach at least twice a year.
Before coming to Urbana-Champaign, Weber led the Salukis of Southern Illinois to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference, winning league titles in 2002 and 2003, collecting a 103-54 (.656) overall record from 1998 to 2003. He posted records of 28-8 and 24-7 in his last two seasons, leading the squad to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the Sweet 16 in 2002 with wins over Texas Tech and Georgia at the United Center in Chicago. His .689 (62-28) winning percentage in Missouri Valley play ranked 12th in the long history of the league. He is the second K-State head coach with ties to Southern Illinois, as all-time wins leader Jack Hartman posted a 142-64 (.689) record as the Salukis’ head coach from 1962-70.
Weber began his coaching career in his hometown of Milwaukee, where he started as a volunteer assistant at Madison (Wis.) High School before becoming a varsity assistant at Marquette University (Wis.) High School. Weber is married with three children.
Eyewitness Sports is in Manhattan for the announcement. We will have the latest throughout the day on Eyewitness Newscasts and at KWCH.com.
*Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.