Bruce Weber, one of the winningest active Division I coaches with over 300 career wins and eight NCAA Tournament appearances to his credit, has been named the 24th head men’s basketball coach at Kansas State, Athletics Director John Currie announced.
Weber agreed to a 5-year contract, which was approved by the K-State Athletics, Inc., Board of Directors and President Kirk Schulz. Weber will be paid $1.5 million in 2012-13 and will receive a $100,000 base salary increase each year remaining on the contract ($1.6 million in 2013-14, $1.7 million in 2014-15, $1.8 million in 2015-16 and $1.9 million in 2016-17).
“I could not be more excited about the opportunity that has presented itself here at K-State,” said Weber. “I’m happy to come to a place that has great tradition. When I’ve talked with people over the last couple of weeks, the main thing they emphasize to me – my mentors and peers — that I just don’t take any job. So I’m very fortunate to take a job where there is already something built. Frank has created a positive culture, along with Bob Huggins. It makes it easier as a coach when you go to a place that has tradition. You understand you don’t have to recreate, you don’t have to re-energize and, obviously, there’s some pretty good players here that have had success in both the Big 12 and even in the NCAA Tournament. This is a tremendous job for me.”
Weber, 55, has compiled a 313-155 (.669) in his 14 seasons as a head coach, which includes stints at Southern Illinois (1998-2003) and Illinois (2003-11). His .669 winning percentage ranks 28th among active Division I head coaches, while his 313 wins are the 11th-most by a head coach in his first 14 seasons in NCAA history. Weber’s teams have participated in postseason play in 10 of his 14 seasons, including eight NCAA Tournament appearances. He has won 11 NCAA Tournament games, including trips to the Sweet 16 in 2002, 2004 and 2005, while his 2004-05 Illinois squad played North Carolina for the NCAA Championship.
Weber’s teams have won a combined five conference regular season and tournament championships, including the 2002 and 2003 Missouri Valley Conference and 2004 and 2005 Big Ten Conference regular season titles. He has won 20 or more games in all but four of his 14 campaigns, including an Illinois school record 37 wins in 2004-05, and he has averaged 22.4 victories a season in his head coaching career.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Bruce, Megan and the entire Weber family to our K-State family,” said 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 has won numerous Coach of the Year honors in his career, including consensus National Coach of the Year accolades in 2005. Among the National Coach of the Year awards earned by Weber in 2005 were the Naismith Award, The Associated Press, Adolph F. Rupp Cup, U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s Henry Iba Award, National Association of Basketball Coaches, Chevrolet/CBS, The Sporting News and Basketball Times. He was also selected as the 2003 Missouri Valley Conference and 2005 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
In all, Weber has 33 years of college coaching experience, which includes 19 seasons as an assistant coach for coaching legend Gene Keady, a native of Garden City, Kan., and 1958 Kansas State graduate. Weber spent his entire assistant coaching career with Keady, first at Western Kentucky (1979-80) and then Purdue (1981-98). The coaching duo helped the Hilltoppers to the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles and a trip to NCAA Tournament in 1980 before moving to West Lafayette the following season. In Weber’s 18 years at Purdue, the Boilermakers won six Big Ten titles, played in 14 NCAA Tournaments and made three NIT appearances.
All told, he has been a part of more than 700 victories, 23 NCAA Tournament appearances and 12 conference championships in coaching stints at Western Kentucky, Purdue, Southern Illinois and Illinois.
“We are pleased to welcome Bruce Weber to the Kansas State family and are convinced he is the right person to take our men’s basketball program to the next level,” said Schulz. “Coach Weber has a superb record of accomplishment and his hiring demonstrates our commitment to continued success. John Currie did an excellent job with this search and deserves our thanks for his tremendous efforts as Athletic Director.”
Weber arrives at Kansas State after a nine-year stint (2004-12) as the head coach at Illinois, where he posted a 210-101 (.675) overall record with six NCAA Tournament appearances, two Big Ten Championships and one Big Ten Conference Tournament title. Through his first eight seasons coaching the Fighting Illini, Illinois was the 15th winningest program in the nation. Seven times in his tenure with Illinois his teams reached the coveted 20-win mark. His 2010 team posted six wins over Top 25 opponents.
At Illinois, Weber coached four players who went on to be selected in the NBA Draft. Point Guard Deron Williams was selected No. 3 overall by the Utah Jazz, and Luther Head was picked No. 24 by the Houston Rockets to give Illinois two first round selections in the 2005 Draft. In 2006, Illinois had two players picked in the second round of the NBA Draft with James Augustine going No. 41 overall to the Orlando Magic and Dee Brown being picked No. 46 by the Utah Jazz.
In his first season at the helm, Weber led the Illini to the Big Ten Conference title winning the school’s first outright Big Ten title in 52 years. The 2003-04 season saw Weber become the third coach in Big Ten history to win a conference title his first year in the league. That season, Illinois won 10 straight games to end the regular season and win the title, including six straight road wins.
The following year Weber guided the team to 29 straight victories to open the 2004-05 campaign. It marked the best start in school history and 12th-best in NCAA Division I history. During the 100th season of Illinois basketball, Weber would take the Fighting Illini all the way to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament. Illinois closed the year with a 37-2 overall record, claiming both the Big Ten regular season title and tournament title. Weber’s team won the regular season Big Ten title with a 15-1 conference record, becoming the first head coach in Big Ten history to win outright conference titles in his first two years in the league. It was the school’s first Final Four in 16 years and the first time Illinois had reached the championship game.
Weber has proven to be able to turn teams around quickly during his career as well. After going 16-19 in the 2007-08 season, he and his Fighting Illini squad had the third-best improvement in Division I during the 2008-09 season. That year, Illinois went 24-10 with 10 more regular season victories than the previous season and went to the NCAA Tournament after finishing as the Big Ten runner-up.
Weber’s teams have a tradition of playing strong defense. The 2008-09 season sparked a run of three straight years Illinois led the Big Ten Conference in shooting percentage defense in conference games. In 2011, Illinois’ conference foes shot just 39.6 percent from the field and 29.9 percent from 3-point range. That followed the 2010 season that saw opponents shoot just 39.0 percent overall. Weber’s team led the Big Ten and ranked third in the nation in scoring defense in 2009, holding opponents to an average of 57.2 points a game.
Offensively, Weber’s teams have proven to be efficient with the ball in averaging 70 or more points in five of his nine seasons with Illinois. The Illini led the Big Ten in scoring in 2004 (72.8 ppg) and ranked second in 2005 (77.0). His teams at Southern Illinois also scored the ball well with averages of 75.5 (2002) and 74.5 (2003) his final two seasons there. In 2009, Weber’s Illini led the nation in assist rate with an impressive 69.3 percent of Illinois’ baskets scored off of an assist. Illinois also led the Big Ten and ranked seventh nationally with 17.5 assists per game that season.
Weber took charge as the 16th men’s basketball coach at Illinois on April 30, 2003 after spending the previous five seasons as the head coach at Southern Illinois. He led the Salukis 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 also actively involved in USA Basketball, where he currently serves on the Men’s Junior National Committee, which selects coaches and athletes for USA Basketball college-aged competitions, including the World University Games, FIBA U19 World Championships, FIBA Americas U18 Championships and Pan American Games. He also served as an assistant coach for the USA Team at the World University Games in 1989 and head court coach for the Pan American team trials in 1991. Weber assisted Keady in preparation for the Jones Cup, World University Game and Pan American Games.
In addition, Weber is involved in a number of charities, most notably Coaches vs. Cancer. He has been one of the nation’s most active coaches in the program, currently serving on the organization’s Council, and was the recipient of the 2007 Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award.
Weber earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee in 1978 and a master’s degree in education administration and physical education from Western Kentucky University in 1981.
Weber was born in Milwaukee, Wis., on Oct. 19, 1956. He and his wife, Megan, have three daughters, Hannah, Christy and Emily.
Weber will take over a Kansas State program that will return 13 of 15 lettermen in 2012-13, including seven players who started at least one game in 2011-12. Among those returning are second team All-Big 12 selection Rodney McGruder, who has started 67 consecutive games in a Wildcat uniform, as well as Big 12 All-Defensive Team member Jordan Henriquez, who is already the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots (146). The Wildcats will return over 80 percent of its scoring, rebounding, assists and steals totals in 2012-13.
– Big12Sports.com –