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Originally published March 31, 2012 at 12:29p.m., updated March 31, 2012 at 04:35p.m.

Bruce Weber to be next Kansas State coach

Illinois head coach Bruce Weber tries to convince a game official that a ball was last touched by Marcus Morris during the second half on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Illinois head coach Bruce Weber tries to convince a game official that a ball was last touched by Marcus Morris during the second half on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

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Bruce Weber knows that Kansas State fans may not accept him right away. That much became clear when a small rally for another coaching candidate turned into a protest of his hiring.

The former Illinois coach doesn't have a problem with that, though.

Weber is up for any challenge that's presented to him.

The former Illinois coach was hired by Kansas State on Saturday to replace Frank Martin, whose departure for South Carolina earlier in the week sent shockwaves through the program. The school moved quickly on the hiring, reaching out to Weber in the last few days and finalizing a deal late Friday.

Weber agreed to a five-year, $8.5 million contract that will pay him $1.5 million next season and an additional $100,000 each remaining year. There are also several benefits.

"It's been a whirlwind, to be honest. Just a few hours ago I was in New Orleans thinking I was going to have gumbo," said Weber, who was attending the Final Four before hopping on a plane with Kansas State athletic director John Currie and heading to Kansas on Saturday.

"We wanted a coach who recognized the tremendous opportunity that exists here at Kansas State," Currie said. "Bruce Weber's name repeatedly rose to the top of the list, whose personal values and integrity matched those of K-State."

Weber was greeted at Bramlage Coliseum 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 was let go after compiling 210-101 record over nine seasons, which included 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, prompting the administration let Weber go with three years left on his contract.

"I'll be honest: We had a young team, six freshmen, one returning starter," Weber said. "The disappointment of a lot of close losses took a toll. It happens."

Weber takes over for Martin, who returned a once-proud program to national prominence after Bob Huggins' departure for West Virginia five years ago. Weber will be the fourth coach to lead Kansas State in the past eight seasons — and the third to cause some consternation among fans.

Huggins was hired still carrying baggage from his messy divorce with Cincinnati, while Martin was a nondescript assistant who had never been a college head coach.

Weber certainly has experience running a program. It's just that not all of it has been good.

He was considered one of the rising stars of the profession after taking Southern Illinois to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances, one of which ended in the regional semifinals. He then took over a program at Illinois that had been built into a perennial contender under Bill Self — now the coach at Kansas, just down the Interstate from Manhattan, Kan., and the Wildcats' biggest rival.

The Jayhawks were scheduled to play Ohio State in the Final Four on Saturday, just hours after officials at Kansas State were to announce Weber's hiring.

Weber had immediate success at Illinois with players largely recruited by Self, returning to the NCAA tournament his first four seasons. That included a 37-2 record during the 2004-05 season, which ended with a 75-70 loss to North Carolina in the national championship game.

The program began to slip soon after, though, and fans who had grown accustomed to winning began to sour. The Illini had a losing record by Weber's fifth season in charge, and despite winning 20 or more games the next three seasons, the program had faded from the national spotlight.

Weber never seemed entirely comfortable following Self at Illinois, and now he'll be matching wits with the Jayhawks' coach at least twice a year.

In fact, Weber had grown so tired of the comparisons to the uber-successful Self that he walked into the locker room before a game in 2003 dressed entirely in black. The quirky coach told the Illini that he was "going to throw a funeral. It's the end of Bill Self."

The idea was to somehow get across the message that the program had moved on.

That's exactly what Kansas State fans are being forced to do.

Martin's intense style and own quirks endeared him to many Kansas State fans. Of course, the winning helped — at least 20 wins each of the past five seasons, four of them ending in NCAA tournament berths, with a trip to the regional finals with Jacob Pullen in 2010.

The school's career scoring leader, Pullen grew up in Chicago and now plays overseas. He offered his assessment of the hiring via Twitter, even misspelling Weber's name: "Bruce Webber didn't think I was good enough to play at Illinois and I don't think he is good enough to coach at Kansas State."

Others have praised the hiring of Weber, whose strong recruiting ties to Chicago will no doubt come in handy at a school that's forced to recruit nationally. Weber is also energetic and personable, two traits that will help as he attempts to quell a fan base wary of more change.

"Give me a chance," Weber said. "It doesn't matter where you go or which coach you hired, there was always going to be a question mark. There's no doubt about that. That's part of college sports."

Comments

Eric J. Baker 6 years, 1 month ago

So the rumors of Jankovich and maybe even Boyle getting the job turned out to be false, and they hired a guy who stretched an amazing Bill Self recruiting class into 9 seasons? How's he going to do now that he has to coach AGAINST Bill Self's recruits? And Bill Self?

Mike Bratisax 6 years, 1 month ago

This whole series of events are TFF! Smart was Smart not to take the Illinois job and Stevens was as well.

Not knocking Groce, but he might not be the one to save that sinking program. A great job at Ohio doesn't mean success at Illinois.

So KState takes on a HC who was replaced at his former school by their third choice.. Illinois couldn't wait to rid themselves of Weber and the Wildcats couldn't wait to do a proper search. Seems desperate.. What was the rush? They only have one commitment coming in so far in 2012 and none in '13 KState is in for a fast free fall to the bottom of the Big12.

Matt Bowers 6 years, 1 month ago

Guess he'll still going to be in HCBS's shadow!!!

Rock Chalk

Matt Bowers 6 years, 1 month ago

Guess he's still going to be in HCBS's shadow!!!

Rock Chalk

FoCoCoHawk 6 years, 1 month ago

"A school that's forced to recruit nationally". That really should be on KSU's letterhead. Nothing says more about their relative position in the State of Kansas. I want to see what Weber's recruiters are doing in 5 years.

jhox 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow, pass on Boyle or Jankovich for a guy who struggled at a school with one best cities for recruiting right in his own back yard. If he couldn't get top Chicago talent to stay in state, how on earth is he going to convince anyone East of Topeka or West of Colby to come to K-State? If I was a KSU alum, I'd never donate another penny until the AD is fired.

I hoped they would hire a decent coach. A rivalry isn't a rivalry if one team spanks the other soundly every time they play. Martin was just about the right level of coach, good enough to make it interesting, but only good enough to beat us every 5 years or so. We lost Missery as our true rival, and K-State had a chance to take their place, but now they've blown it.

Clearly4Kansas 6 years, 1 month ago

I'd say KSU didn't pass on Boyle, more likely that Boyle turned them down

Dan Edwards 6 years, 1 month ago

Uhhh, congratulations? This is the best the pussycats could do?

I guess ole' Bruce likes losing to Bill Self so much he wants to do it 2+ times a year.

Pitthawk34 6 years, 1 month ago

I saw a great quote on on the hire on a ESPN board. "When you succeed a Illinois you go to Kansas and when you fail at Illinois, you go to Kansas State." Just about sums it up.

Kevin Crook 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow that's really a beautiful way to put it. Weird hire. This has the KSU fan base that I know up in arms. Love it!!! Second class citizens.

okiedave 6 years, 1 month ago

Pitthawk, agree, any additional discussion beyond this quote would be simply idle chatter.

cowboy 6 years, 1 month ago

Epic Fail KSU , fire bruce and currie

Geekinout 6 years, 1 month ago

Hilarious! Anyone remember him sort of dissing B. Self upon his arrival and not giving B. Self the credit he deserved? After Self's last recruiting class, Weber didn't live up to the smack his mouth ran. Way to go State, they'll probably hire Turner Gill as their new football coach when old Snyder retires this year...

Chris Bruning 6 years, 1 month ago

If i were a KSU guy i would be calling for the departure of Currie, but since im not ill just keep getting my final four party ready for tonight :-D

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

Hawks play tonight in final 4, who cares about k state or weber

CougIsLJW 6 years, 1 month ago

Because maybe life goes on after the Final Four?

Nick Cole 6 years, 1 month ago

But it's not after the Final Four yet, stupid....

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 1 month ago

After the final four will be spring football! Besides, we don't care about KSU bball because they are good about twice a decade

Orangedog87 6 years, 1 month ago

Not real exciting for KSU or Big 12 BB.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 1 month ago

If I were Brucie I'd come in with guns a blazin' & hold a funeral for KU championships. Oh, wait, that didn't work so swell last time.

Mike Bratisax 6 years, 1 month ago

He can do a mock Martin funeral..I'm sure it will have as much success.

JayDocMD 6 years, 1 month ago

I hear KSU beat out College of Charleston for his services. Strong work.

HawkTronic 6 years, 1 month ago

Scott Drew is no longer Bill Self's least favorite coach in the B12.

Cole Hogan 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm sorry but I think this is awesome. Weber held a fake funeral 9 years ago after he arrived there when self left trying to say that that era was over aNd it was time to move on. It did not go very well with HCBS so this will make for awesome ku-ksu games over the next few years. Self is gonna love whoopin his butt year in and year out. What a hire k-state, I wouldn't have thought your goal would be to put fuel in bill selfs fire every time he played y'all!

Ron Franklin 6 years, 1 month ago

How could you possibly hire a coach that you KNOW cannot compete with your "Rival?"

Worst hire ever. Fire Currie. Hello, Runs off Frank Martin for this guy?

Chris1955 6 years, 1 month ago

Is Lew Perkins working as a consultant to KSU? This hire makes me wonder.

okiedave 6 years, 1 month ago

Classic:. (1) Martin leaves due to suspected problems with Athletic Director, (2) K-States' best recruit in 3 years, 7 ft. Upshaw, renounces his commitment and, to add the cherry on top, (3) K-State hires Weber after Lon Kruger's top assistant at Oklahoma and former K-State player, Barry Henson, tells K-State he wants the job.

kureader 6 years, 1 month ago

I didn't know that Upshaw backed out of his commitment to K-Straight. I guess I'm not paying attention ... when did that happen?

seahawks06 6 years, 1 month ago

good ol frank martin told upshaw that he did not need to sign a letter of intent

riverdrifter 6 years, 1 month ago

If this is true, when they fire Weber in 3-4 years Currie gets booted right along with him.
Just an astonishing hire by Currie. Bill Self will own him.

Rolland Remmert 6 years, 1 month ago

Currie will never last 3 years with the reputation and fan base he is building. Can you imagine the collective holding of the breath if Snyder retires and he has to make the hire of that replacement. I suppose he would go after mangino just to be consistant.

texashawk10 6 years, 1 month ago

I love this hire, but I'm also a little bit biased against KState.

kumax 6 years, 1 month ago

This may say a lot about how Currie sees his own basketball program... wants to be SEEN as a big dog... so he goes out and hires a (former) big name from a respected conference, thinking that will buy some status for KSU basketball.

Problem is, Weber is widely seen as an epic failure. Unable to shift his game plan strategy... incapable of developing talent, weak at building a cohesive team, etc... and shows a nack for whining when he gets criticism from Illini fans.

KState & its fans deserve better than Weber. Why not pursue those with a purple pedigree who really want to be there?

Joe Joseph 6 years, 1 month ago

lolololololololololololololololololololololol....

....olololololololololololololololololololololol

actorman 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow. I actually feel sorry for the kitty cats.

Kyle Coffey 6 years, 1 month ago

This might equal the Turner Gill hire.. Weak.

vd 6 years, 1 month ago

He took what should be a powerhouse program to a 500 team, then he was fired. He was later hired by a desperate school, hoping that he could use the previous coach's recruits and win. Looks more like a Weiss type of hire.

Stan Unruh 6 years, 1 month ago

Webber sounded like a dork during the press conference.

Andy Tweedy 6 years, 1 month ago

What a ridiculous hire! I sure hope KSU fans complain about this hire to no end, so Bruce can bust out that grim reaper outfit again! That dude is WEIRD and he can't win at the high major level. And when this story broke, it was Bruce himself who told people he'd been hired. WHO DOES THAT?

Steve Gantz 6 years, 1 month ago

Yesterdays early April Fools joke was Frank Haith AP coach of the year. Todays early April Fools joke, Bruce Weber a good mid major coach, hired by KState. Can't wait to see what tonight brings.

Jayhawk444 6 years, 1 month ago

Man, even I feel bad for them....this looks like a big FAIL to me. My K-State friends certainly are not impressed.

And if Weber thought it was tough to get out of Bill Self's shadow at Illinois...he certainly could not have picked a worse place to land.

sparky1958 6 years, 1 month ago

Hey uk beaker morons- Ill help you all with something. Coach Hairpiece was successful at Illinois with Lon Kruger's recruits. Self couldn't even screw that up.You are going down tonight RIP

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 1 month ago

8 straight Big 12 Cahmpionships. One national chanmpionship with Self. Have fun at Phog Allen West, we appreciate you building another home stadium for us. I still prefer the Phog.

gchawk 6 years, 1 month ago

I actually grew up in a family that revered ksu, in fact, two of my older brothers went there. But it's idiotic, militant dip dorks like you that made me decide to go to KU. You are proof positive that your mom went to the type of doctor that k-state produces to deliver you.

Jean Robart 6 years, 1 month ago

Ah, it didn't quite work that way tonight, did it?

Brandon Pope 6 years, 1 month ago

I agree that this is a bad hire. However, I think some humility is in order. It was not long ago that another school you may have heard of had an incompetent AD that went out and hired an incompetent coach by the name of Turner Gill. We have seen this movie before. Tough coach leaves, and the hire is the polar opposite. This will end in tears for them, like it did for us.

I am not saying I feel sorry for them, because I don't. I like watching KSU suffer as much as the next Jayhawk. But sometimes you have to ignore the opportunity to kick someone when they are down when you were just down there on the ground less than 4 months ago.

Just one opinion. Take it easy on them.

gchawk 6 years, 1 month ago

As we all know, Weber's claim to fame came from the National Championship game with Coach Self's team. This is comparable to what Barry Switzer did with the Dallas Cowboys the year after Jimmy Johnson "left", and had about the same end result. On their own accord, neither Weber nor Switzer, at least in the pro's, could find sustained success. I was kind of concerned that KSU might actually get a quality coach, instead, they just hired more fodder for us, and especially Coach Self, to deal with. What Frank Martin did to help make the relationship somewhat more amicable, the AD at K-State just totally undid in one fell swoop, or maybe I should say, one anemic hire.

sparky1958 6 years, 1 month ago

gchawk (anonymous) says…What Frank Martin did to help make the relationship somewhat more amicable, the AD at K-State just totally undid in one fell swoop, or maybe I should say, one anemic hire.

Maybe we can get back to despising anything that is uk beaker.

gchawk 6 years, 1 month ago

A good rebuttal, or even a bad one, would be wasted on you. I hope you get the help you so desperately need.

KUWorldTraveler 6 years, 1 month ago

Here's $200 to go away. Make sure you throw away the receipt.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 1 month ago

better shred it first, throwing it away doesn't work in Manhattan, someone will dig it back up within a week.

Chris1955 6 years, 1 month ago

Well, somebody beat me to the April Fool’s joke punch line. However, I will say that it's amazing how often real life seems more ludicrous than anything Hollywood writers can come up with. I still can't fathom this one!

This is truly as painful for KSU as the Turner Gill hire was for us. Even though I want to be excited about this hire, for obvious reasons, I can't. Wow, I'm remain stunned.

MimiHawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Hey sparky... what is a "uk beaker". Kentucky wildcats have beaks????

You need to get your facts straight... University of KANSAS is known as KU.

University of Kentucky is UK.

Get a clue, then get a life.

Dan Pawlowski 6 years, 1 month ago

Thomas Robinson was robbed. Davis won the Wooden award. Go to ESPN and add your displeasure to the comments. I did.

Vernon Riggs 6 years, 1 month ago

I take it that Dave Bliss wasn't available.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 1 month ago

Bruce should be just good enough to give KU a couple quality wins per year, and time for Jank or Henson to gain a bit more experience prior to taking the head job.

DDDHawk 6 years, 1 month ago

I haven't been able to stand Weber since he pulled the Bill Self funeral stunt. I feel sorry for K-State fans. Maybe the first time Weber comes to Allen Fieldhouse, all of our fans could wear funeral attire! Ha!

Duane Rice 6 years, 1 month ago

K-state has Some good players returning next year. I guess they thought they needed a coach with experience of taking other coaches players far into the tournament.

jayhawkintexas 6 years, 1 month ago

Looks like K-State panicked-an incredibly bad pick. I almost feel like writing Currie a letter of protest myself--almost. Bruce Weber is going to give the Octagon of Doom a whole new meaning.

Rolland Remmert 6 years, 1 month ago

Wonder if Kansas City's voice of the Wildcats Kevin Keitzman had to be hospitilized for swollowing his tongue after this announcement. He'll have to work hard to spin this as a positive to the KC 'cat fanbase. Bramledge will be the easiest ticket in the conference next year.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

Far too many negatives here. He's experienced and has had success. Yes, his last few years were not as good, but I think that he'll represent KSU well, will recruit fairly well, and will have some success.

There were many more choices, and many of them worse.

april28 6 years, 1 month ago

Proof that there is a God. The purple pussies hire Bruce Weber. He'll do fine with Martin's players and start sucking just like he did at Ilinois.

Spencer Goff 6 years, 1 month ago

They say the current AD is responsible for the increase to the KSU athletic budget, and that he has convinced the donors to give him money.

I'll make an argument against that.

My argument is this; fear alone convinced the donors to come out in droves. They were worried about a Big 12 implosion,and wanted to strengthen their card. It could have been a chimpanzee at AD and they were still going to donate, all Currie had to was cash the check.

I don't know how this Webber hire will work out. I don't like that they went completely polar in coaching style. They had a hard-nose guy that was a straight shooter. They now have a pu$$y that couldn't recruit Chicago while at Illinois (I have heard arguments why he wouldn't/couldn't and I'm not buying it) and has a voice like a dying goose. It seems like a knee jerk "See I didn't screw up!" hire by Currie.

Webber had a decent showing at Southern Illinois, but for all its good teams, those wins were not in the Big 12. He is about to go against Self, Huggins, and Hoiberg twice each. That is likely four to six losses every year just from being out-coached. Throw in that he will NEVER have the talent of Barnes or Drew, add in probably another two to four losses. Gillespie will likely get better talent at Tech, and I think he can coach when he stays sober. Ford gets talent at Oklahoma State. I see them being better than TCU....

Bottom line, I don't see this turning out very well for them. But we'll see.

wyansas 6 years, 1 month ago

really too bad. I want our main rival, now that Missouri's gone, to actually be good so it feels better to beat them. At least we still have Texas twice a year.

Lance Hobson 6 years, 1 month ago

Hope he does well. Martin always recruited thugs and was kind of a dolt himself. Weber is a classy guy who got a raw deal at Illinois. When their AD threw him under the bus mid-season that crushed his players' will, such a classless act.

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