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Thread: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

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    Default Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    http://www.illinihq.com/sports/illin...-illinois.html

    Shocking, I know.

    CHAMPAIGN - The Bruce Weber era at Illinois is over.
    Weber has been informed he will not return as the basketball coach, multiple sources told The News-Gazette. The coach was fired this morning after nine seasons at Illinois, according to sources.
    There is expected to be a formal press conference at 11 a.m. today (WDWS 1400-AM). The decision comes less than 24 hours after Iowa knocked Illinois (17-15) out of the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis. Players were to be informed of the decision later this morning, according to sources.
    The Weber era opened in a big way. In his first season – 2003-04 – he guided the Illini to their first outright Big Ten title in over 50 years and a Sweet 16 berth. In his second season he coached Illinois to another outright Big Ten title, school-record 37 wins and the NCAA title game.

    His office at Ubben Basketball Complex is filled with national Coach of the Year awards from the 2004-05 season.

    Momentum shifted after the 2005-06 season, however. In the era A.D. – after program legend Dee Brown – the Illini show a 50-56 Big Ten record. Since 2006, the Illini have won one game in the NCAA tournament and haven’t finished in the AP Top 25 poll.

    Fanbase unrest reached a fever pitch as the Illini fell apart down the stretch this season. After opening with a 15-3 record, Illinois lost 11 of 13 to close the regular season. This is the third time in five seasons Illinois is not included in the NCAA tournament.

    In May 2009, Weber received a contract extension that goes through the 2014-15 season. He will be owed $3.9 million as a buyout.

    Weber is the third coach to be fired in the past four months. First-year athletic director Mike Thomas fired football coach Ron Zook in November and Jolette Law on March 2.

    Weber said days before the Big Ten tournament he was aware these could be his final days as the coach at Illinois. Regardless, he held out hope for a late run in Indianapolis and positive end to the season. He continued to recruit for Illinois, taking in a game featuring Chicago Simeon star junior Jabari Parker as recently as Tuesday.
    But the coaching change doesn't come as a surprise.
    Story developing - more to come.
    Damn shame. Bruce just isn't cut out for a job like Illinois.

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    future dragon trainer Heisenberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    https://twitter.com/#!/DanWolken/status/178176632387928065
    Sounds like Shaka is going to take Illinois or is leaning that way, from what I hear.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    ^Well, if "Dan Wolken" says so

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Nebraska fired Doc Sadler

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Izzo comments powerfully on Weber firing (link from usually unreadable GBI board)

    http://mobile.mlive.com/advannarbor/...l=true#display

    Michigan State's Tom Izzo blasts Illinois AD Mike Thomas for sabotaging, then firing Bruce Weber
    Graham Couch | gcouch@mlive.com
    Posted: 03/09/2012 4:15 PM
    More images >>

    INDIANAPOLIS — Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo knew his mood was about the change Friday afternoon when he was asked about Bruce Weber — his friend and respected former Big Ten colleague, who was fired by the University of Illinois Friday morning after nine seasons.

    So, following a 92-75 Big Ten tournament quarterfinal win over Iowa, Izzo asked to return to the topic of Weber's dismissal at the end of his postgame press conference.

    When Izzo did, the only sign he was holding anything back game came late in a five-minute verbal ripping of Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas, when Izzo said, "If this was HBO, we could get at it right now and I'd really be fired up."

    Izzo never addressed Thomas by name, but left zero doubt who he was criticizing, chastising Illinois' first-year AD for sabotaging Weber and this year's Illini with his public lack of support midseason.

    "Now we've got administrators that are pulling the rug out from under ourselves in the middle of January when they're 16-6 or -7 and whatever it was, (administrators) publicly talk about 'We'll make decisions at the end of the year,'" Izzo said, an edge to his tone the entire time. "I don't know what you think of kids, because they haven't changed much, but if there's one place they've changed, they're a little more fragile.

    "So now we put that (saving Weber's job) on those poor kids. And then we're surprised that they lose 9 out of 10. I don't know who's beaten me the worst, probably Bo (Ryan), but second on that list (is Weber), and I'm canonized as something some of the time.

    "I think it's ridiculous the way that thing was handled. And if I take abuse for that, I really don't care, because I'm also president of our (coaches) association. This isn't about a friendship. This is about a profession. And whenever you're in an organization … the only way you can be successful is if the top to bottom, from the president to the trainer are all on the same page."

    The comments from Thomas actually took placed during a Feb. 11 radio Q&A with fans, when Thomas failed to publicly back Weber and said he'd assess the situation at the end of the season, after which Illinois, then 16-8, lost seven of its final eight games.

    Izzo spoke of his dismay at the time in this Feb. 14 MLive.com column that questioned Thomas' leadership.

    "If you look at that team from that statement, they went directly down," Izzo continued Friday. "I feel worse for Bruce, because we lost a good soldier and yeah, friendship is some of it, but it's not all of it. We lost a good coach. We got a coach that beat me and my team more often than not. I just, I can't figure it out.

    "My wife and I shed a tear this morning over it and it was half for Bruce and half for my profession. But unless there are things that I don't know … but when I heard those comments back in (February) it made me sick. And I said 'There's a problem.'

    "I hope that administrators that make those statements have a good game plan.

    "I mean this guy's won more games, by percentage, than anybody who's ever been at the school. And he's done it the right way and that's not easy to do. And it's not an easy job there.

    "I know this, I've known Bruce Weber since the day I was a grad assistant (at Michigan State and Weber an assistant at Purdue). There's not a classier, better guy, better coach, who's had some things thrown at him, too."

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Shaka said no. There're apparently a contingent of Illini fans that think they can get Brad Stevens now because they allegedly offered him 2.5 mil a year. Good luck with that.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
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    Shaka said no. There're apparently a contingent of Illini fans that think they can get Brad Stevens now because they allegedly offered him 2.5 mil a year. Good luck with that.


    This AD could be in real trouble since he didn't land "his guy" Smart. I think a lot of veteran coaches will be really leary of working for a guy who would be so quick to throw his coach under the bus. Izzo's rant didn't help in that regard.
    Last edited by Kegboy; 03-24-2012 at 11:59 AM.
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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    I really hope Brad Stevens stays at Butler. I would hate to see him leave especially for Illinois. Shaka Smart is smart for turning them down. He has a good thing going at VCU you like Brad Stevens does at Butler.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    I'm secretly hoping that Painter's got a lead assistant job open for Weber at Purdue if he can't find a head job he wants to take.
    "A man with no belly has no appetite for life."

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    There's not a chance in hell Stevens leaves for Illinois. The only places I'd say "yep, he's gone" if they offered are IU, Duke, and UNC.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
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    There's not a chance in hell Stevens leaves for Illinois. The only places I'd say "yep, he's gone" if they offered are IU, Duke, and UNC.
    Or Kentucky when Calipari wins the national title and bolts for the Knicks opening.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by OakMoses View Post
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    I'm secretly hoping that Painter's got a lead assistant job open for Weber at Purdue if he can't find a head job he wants to take.
    I've heard this a few places and find it implausible...Weber was already lead assistant when MP was playing, and he is departing from a job that is roughly equal to Purdue, having gone further in the tourney than MP ever did...it would be a pretty big step down. I haven't followed the story with SIU, but that seems much more likely. I just don't see going from a) doing a decent job at a top-25 program to b) a lead assistant at a similar place for a guy with a similar record, whom you were coaching 15-20 years ago.

    Granted, Keady went to work for SJU, but that seems like a much different scenario--Bruce still has a good decade or two of head coaching left.

    This Illinois job opening will get pretty interesting, though if people keep declining it. I expect the process is teaching the AD a thing or two about PR, if nothing else.



    EDIT: ESPN article from yesterday--nothing earth-shattering
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Powers, ESPN Chicago
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    http://espn.go.com/chicago/ncb/story...s-looking-back

    Bruce Weber said Thursday he was moving on with his life and was ready for his next destination after being fired earlier this month by Illinois.

    Weber was fired after nine years as Illinois' head basketball coach on March 9.

    Since then, he has put his house in Champaign on the market and done NCAA tournament commentary -- for CBS last week and Comcast SportsNet Chicago this week.

    "Someone said to me and it really struck me, I got to live my own wake," Weber said in a phone conversation. "I was eulogized week after week, but I'm still alive. You got to move on with life."


    A source with knowledge of the coaching search at Southern Illinois said earlier in the week Weber had been offered the school's vacant coaching position. Both Weber and SIU athletic director Mario Moccia denied that claim.

    Weber said in a phone conversation on Thursday that he would like to coach somewhere next season and has been contacted regarding a few positions. He wouldn't go into detail what opportunities he may have.

    "I love coaching," Weber said. "I love kids. I just got to make sure it's the right spot. I need to see if there's something good for me. I hope to be coaching next year. We'll just have to wait and see.

    "I've talked to a lot of people. I wouldn't say anything is concrete."

    One of the toughest parts of this transition process for Weber has been getting rid of all his Illinois belongings.

    "It's hard because it's probably 60 percent, 70 percent of my wardrobe," Weber said. "My wife and family were here for nine years. I've donated a lot of stuff to charity groups in the community. I kept a few orange ties because it's still a good color you can wear."

    Weber has donated more than 35 autographed ties and other items to be auctioned off on eBay with all the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer. The items can be found by searching "Coaches vs. Cancer Bruce Weber" on eBay.

    "After you're going to be gone, I just looked in my closet," Weber said. "I think I had 70 orange ties. What do you do with them? Along the way, people have always commented about ties. A lot of the ties have been sent to me from all over the world.

    "What's the best thing? Use it for charity. We're proud of what did on the court, proud of what we did in the classroom and proud of what we did with charities."

    Weber was unsure where life would take him next.

    "It's fine, it's hard," Weber said. "There's the uncertainty of what you're doing and where you're going in life. It's hard to deal with. It's been more stressful (the last few weeks). We got to sell our house and get that cleaned up. We worked pretty much night and day the last week to get that ready. I don't know where we'll move to. We have no idea."

    Weber said he's had thousands of people contact him since leaving Illinois and has been grateful for all of their support.

    "Literally, thousands of texts," Weber said. "I think our secretary said we have over a thousand emails, cards, flowers. People brought cookies to the house. People are continually coming up to me around the community. It makes you feel like you made an impact."

    EDIT 2: Article from AP SPORTS
    http://www.timesunion.com/sports/art...on-3396952.php
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Marot
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    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bruce Weber might not be out of work long.

    Less than 24 hours after being fired at Illinois, Weber told The Associated Press on Saturday that interested schools had been contacting him for the past month and that he intends to take a short break before deciding what to do next.

    He did not identify which schools had called though there has been speculation that he could return to Southern Illinois where he coached from 1998 to 2003.

    "I want to coach. I love coaching and I love working with kids. We just have to see what situation comes up for us," Weber said. "For the last month I've had people feeling around. But there's not jobs open. There's a few. I have to take a breath right now and exhale a little bit and relax and help my wife and my daughters fight through this."

    Weber came to Indianapolis on Saturday at the invitation of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, one of Weber's longtime friends.

    He watched the Spartans defeat No. 14 Wisconsin 65-52 from the Spartans cheering section about 10 rows behind the Michigan State bench in the same venue where Izzo passionately defended his colleague and criticized Illinois officials for Friday's decision.

    Weber said he appreciated Izzo's comments and was at peace with the announcement because he expected what was coming before Iowa beat Illinois 64-61 on Thursday.

    "A little bit of relief from the whole thing. You knew it was going to happen. It was just a matter of time," Weber said. "I still wanted to coach our kids in the NIT, if we got that opportunity. That didn't come through. At the same time, I woke up this morning to reality that I don't have a job and you have to leave a place that you love. So that makes it tough."

    Weber went 210-101 at Illinois, including the 37-win season and national runner-up finish he had in 2005 -- his second year in Champaign. Illinois lost to North Carolina in the title game that year.

    But his record in conference play over the past six seasons was just 55-66. This year, after a 10-0 start, Illinois finished 17-15, losing 12 of its last 14 games, and some criticized him for not recruiting the best players out of Chicago.

    Izzo told reporters Friday that Weber not only won but won the right way at a program where it's not easy to do.

    "I appreciate that he had my back. I have a tendency to be too honest sometimes so I always have to be careful of what I say and he was my voice yesterday," Weber said. "He told me a couple of weeks ago, he said, 'if I get a platform, I'm going to say some things,' so I kind of knew it. ... He was one of the first, after my family, he was one of the first people that I called and when he said that he had tears, he did, he cried on the phone with me. It was emotional, there's no doubt. I was happy that he won and that he had a chance to say some things."

    The only hint Weber dropped about his future was that he'd like to stay in the Midwest and that he plans to keep coaching.

    He's just not sure where or when all that will be determined.

    "I'll get a job, I'll be fine," he said "It's just difficult to deal with some of this."

    Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/sports/art...#ixzz1q4Tl1gyv
    Last edited by dal9; 03-24-2012 at 04:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by cdash View Post
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    Or Kentucky when Calipari wins the national title and bolts for the KnicksWizards opening.
    Just a gut feeling... think Washington might have the edge.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by avoidingtheclowns View Post
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    Just a gut feeling... think Washington might have the edge.
    As long as he leaves I don't care where he goes. What makes you say this though?

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Webber
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    I kept a few orange ties because it's still a good color you can wear.
    Uh, no it's not! Give them to Cuonzo for god's sake, don't keep wearing them!

    As for Stevens, I'd never want to follow Calipari and have to deal with the inevitable sanctions.
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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by cdash View Post
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    As long as he leaves I don't care where he goes. What makes you say this though?
    John Wall.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by cdash View Post
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    As long as he leaves I don't care where he goes. What makes you say this though?
    Washington is younger with less pressure to immediately succeed and a better ownership situation (which may be extra important after the way his time with the Nets ended). As TJ said John Wall would be there as would be a (likely) top five pick this June (Davis? Kidd-Gilchrist? Barnes? Beal?). By waiving Lewis' partially guaranteed deal and amnestying Blatche, they'll have cap space to play with so the franchise in general would be in fairly good shape.

    Also, I think the Knicks are pretty committed to the idea of luring Phil Jackson back into the Association.
    Last edited by avoidingtheclowns; 03-24-2012 at 07:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Kidd Gilchrist is the perfect guy to put next to Wall. I love everything about that kid. Great attitude and a great game to watch.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Illnois hired Groce.

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegebask...-replace-weber

    Also, I guess Weber turned down Southern Illinois, so they hired the guy who followed Alford at Missouri State.

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegebask...s-barry-hinson
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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Not much of a step down for Bruce...good for him....

    KSU fans not too happy, but it shows the lack of (obvious) coaching talent out there that they wanted Doug Gottlieb, who as far as I know, has no coaching experience at any level...

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    I think some K-State fans overestimate how good their program is, same as Illinois, but I can somewhat understand how pissed they are. It's not the same thing, but if Painter left and Burke went out and hired Weber I'd be pretty pissed off.

    Just a surprising hire. Weber was probably cheap and that probably had a lot to do with it. After they get over losing Frank Martin maybe Weber'll get some 2nd tier recruits with chips on their shoulders, which're the guys he means to coach. It's just really funny to me how upset KSU fans are about losing Martin. He's not a very good coach at all besides having some shady recruiting ties.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Just occurred to me, wonder if Keady'd have any interest in joining Bruce's staff. Obviously the long history with Weber and he's from central KS and went to KState.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
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    I think some K-State fans overestimate how good their program is, same as Illinois, but I can somewhat understand how pissed they are. It's not the same thing, but if Painter left and Burke went out and hired Weber I'd be pretty pissed off.
    Why? Who is out there that is obviously better, and that Purdue could get? 'Zo I could easily get behind, but other than that? Smart or Stevens wouldn't seem realistic.

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    Default Re: Bruce Weber fired at Illinois

    Katz's top 25 for 2012-3.

    http://espn.go.com/mens-college-bask...moving-2012-13

    Two former Keady assistants: Bruce at #20, 'Zo at #24. Purdue not even among Top 40.

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