Sources: Weber will not return to Illinois

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 (streaming at WDWS 1400-AM, WHMS 97.5-FM). 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.

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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.

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sueo wrote on March 09, 2012 at 8:03 am

Thanks Bruce...you gave it all you had and then some!


Signed, a Weber fan

golfergurley wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

I, too, thank you Coach Weber.  So sorry you and your family had to go through all of this.  Will always remember 04-05.

Salt Life wrote on March 09, 2012 at 11:03 am
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Jerrance Howard is named interim head coach immediately and Mike Thomas will accept NIT bid if one is offered. Thomas says staff and players do want to keep playing and looking forward to NIT.

den85 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 8:03 am

Thank you, Coach Weber. You are a good man and a good coach.  Good Luck on  your next job.

votsy wrote on March 09, 2012 at 8:03 am

Class act Coach Weber.  Still not sure this is the best move.  I don't see big names fighing to come to this program.  This makes 3 coaches we are paying NOT to coach at Illinois. 

Illini1973 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 8:03 am

Back to Carbondale and we should take Deon Thomas.

houstonillini84 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

Yeah because Deon is such a proven, successful coach. Jeeze.

Illini1973 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 11:03 am

Yeah, just goes to show if you have the talent, coaching takes a back seat.  Now let’s get someone who can get the talent.

houstonillini84 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Thats probably why Fat Pat Kennedy has created such a winning program at Depaul. Recruiting is all that matters, right? LOL

And by the way, why are you so sure that Deon would be a good recruiter? We already have a good recruiter - Jerrance. By that line of reasoning, make Jerrance head coach. Who cares if he can coach, right?

Sigh.

Illini1973 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Well following your ‘bread crumbs’ then if we brought in Williams, Calipari, K, etc we would be in the running for the NC.  Dream on.  Yet I’m willing to bet if Weber was at NC, KY, Duke, etc, they would be playing on the second weekend.  But stick with your Tisdales of Riverton, Coles of Peoria, etc and ‘coach ‘em up’ and see where it gets us.  You’re in bizaro world if you think recruiting is not first on the list.

RPeterE wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

Justice has been served. Bruce takes his $17.5 Million and goes back to happier and less stressful times at SIU. Win-Win for both schools if you ignore his $3.9M golden parachute.

houstonillini84 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

its only a win-win if the program is more successful. Dont count your chickens before they hatch.

PeterE wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

The Illini basketball program just suffered the worst 6-year stretch since the early 70's. It won't take that much to better that extremely poor performace. Mike Thomas wants our coaches contending yearly for Big Ten championships and getting high seeds to the NCAA yearly (not missing the NCAA 3 times in 5 years like Webs). Mike will hire a coach that is up to the task. You can count on that he won't hire another Weber or worse. Thomas isn't Guenther, Thank God.

houstonillini84 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 1:03 pm

You and everyone else have no idea if Thomas will hire a good coach. Its a crapshoot, just like it is for every other program. Many coaches get hired every year and only some of them create/sustain a successful program. The only thing that we can 'count on' is that we will pay the new coach more. Other than that, its wait and see and hope. But it must be nice to have a crystal ball with all the answers and no uncertainty. LOL

PeterE wrote on March 09, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Yeah it's a crapshoot for terrible AD's. You are so sure already that Thomas is a terrible AD and can't deliver. Thomas has a good record of picking good coaches unlike other AD's. I'll take my chances with Thomas picking a winner than the known mediocrity of sticking with loser Weber anyday!

aaeismacgychel wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

Bruce,


Thank you for all the time, effort, and heart you put in since you have been here.  You gave the Illini fanbase much happiness during your time here and that magical '05 run will be something that we will hold onto and forever remember.  I'm sorry things didn't work out as planned here, but I expect great things for you in the future and to see you taking another team deep into the tournament.  Here is wishing you and your family the very best of luck and happiness in the future.  Take care, Bruce, and whether some of the fanbase believes it now or not, you will sorely be missed and sorry it had to end this way.

beekay wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

This was the right thing to do.  He just wasn't able to coach effectively anymore at this level.  The honorable thing to do at this point is to thank him for his hard work and for running a program with integrity.  He is a good man, and he worked very hard.  And regardless of what anyone thinks about his coaching, the fact of the matter is that he coached a very talented team all the way to the national championship game and almost won it.  It was a memorable year for us all, and I will always think fondly of Weber for that season alone.  Let's celebrate his accomplishments and wish him the best.  He loved our institution.  He certainly didn't try to lose ballgames.  I hope he finds a situation that is more suitable for him somewhere else.

illiniphil85 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

Hard to believe it took 9 years and $3.9 mil to get rid of this totally incompetant clown.

houstonillini84 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

wow, how classy. And if you are going to be classless and call someone incompetent, at least spell it right. Please tell me you didnt graduate from UI.

mahillinois wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

Class act and a really good coach. It is unfortuante he couldn't keep the recruiting momentum going after Dee left. It is somewhat amazing that he got the number of wins that he did the last 5 years given the problems with the recruiting misses and the J. Richmond and C. Head situations not working out. He will do well wherever he goes next and if he ever coaches against the Illini down the road we know it will be a real battle.


Let's all hope better days are ahead for both Illinois and Coach Weber.

tonyjb37 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am
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Don,t go away mad Bruce, just go away!

iris wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

I am so sorry to hear that Coach Bruce Weber has been fired. Zook, then the ladies coach, and now Coach, what is going on?  I fully back Coach Weber and his team. They could have beaten any team there, but something went wrong and who are we to judge them, old saying  walk a mile in their shoes, before we criticize them.  Love you coach and your players, my heart aches for all of you.  Iris Galloway, Rossville, Illinois

 

houstonillini84 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

Coach Weber, you're a fine man and a good coach. I was proud to have you coach here at UI. You brought us the most successful season in the history of Illinois basketball, something which I will never forget. I am sorry and saddened the way you and the team were treated this year by some of our fans.

illiniphil85 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

Keep polishing, Houston. In 1000s of years and tons of pressure, you'll have that pile Bruce left us sparkling like a diamond.

houstonillini84 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Not polishing anything. Just showing respect to a good man. And being classy about it, unlike you. Because its so classy to refer to our current players and recruits as a 'pile'. Drag yourself out of the internet sewer and try to show some class. I know its hard, but try.

And by the way, Bruce left us with the best memories and best season of any Illini coach. Those will always mean a lot to good Illini fans, even if people like you want to denigrate it. That Arizona game is a timeless classic and we will always have that.

Dan Bloeme wrote on March 09, 2012 at 2:03 pm
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The last six stinking years of mediocrity and irelevance have clouded 2005 and confirmed in most minds Bruce was handed that team and has done nothing similar with his own recruits. Houston, Bruce didn't hit those shots in the Arizona game -> all DWill

peterborich wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

Roses are Red,

Coach Weber was a Class Act,

But It Was Time for Him to Go,

Clearly an Indisputable Fact !!!!!!

Illini 428 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 9:03 am

good luck back @ SIU coach...you seem to be a good man, you just lost this team. it was painful to watch this pathetic offense and non inspired defense. the players quit too, no heart!.hopefully the AD will look long and hard at shaka smart!..his players play their butts off on both ends of the court and have fun and play loose!..take your 3.9 million and smile all the way to the bank bruce, its finally over!  GO ILLINI!!

Moonpie wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

It had to be, but a little sad because Weber seems to be honest and have good character. Too bad Moses Tate won't leave with him. Now Mr. Sonny Tate will tell Thomas who to hire and remind fans they have no right to express their views.

PeterE wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

 

Hallelujah!

abcbdb98 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

Best of luck to Coach Weber, his staff, and his family. I am sorry it ended this way but know that your loyalty and hard work was appreciated by many. Thanks for all of the good memories & enjoyable seasons. It may be hard to see now but hopefully your overall positive experience at Illinois will remain with you always.

martin1268 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

"He continued to recruit for Illinois, taking in a game featuring Chicago Simeon star junior Jabari Parker as recently as Tuesday."

He might have went to the game but I read that Reggie Theus was sitting next to Jabari's mother. Not sure if that means anything.

Coach Weber did give Illinois its best run in history and we can't thank him enough for that. That alone sets him apart from any other Illinois coach. I truly hope he lands somewhere where he can turn his fortunes around. He had a string of bad happenstances that contributed to his demise. Being an SIU grad, I will root for him wherever he goes.

tunacommander wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

I was sickened by the way Weber lost control and personally, am happy to see him go. He will be fine with his 3.9 million dollar buy-out. If he was half a man, he would have resigned after the gut wrenching filth he put out on the Assembly Hall floor. What a pathetic little oaf. Hopefully the AD will contact Frank Martin and not flake out like he did when he wouldn't return the feeler's from Mike Leach.

houstonillini84 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Jeeze, you kiss your mother with that mouth? "Half a man"? "Gut wrenching flith"? "Pathetic little oaf"? Yeah, you obviously have lots of room to tell other people how to behave. LOL

mankind wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

Does this mean we can also do away with all the doomsday coverage of the team?

daviskj53 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

Thank you Bruce and the Webber Family.  Sorry to see you go.  You are a great person and you give it all you've got.  I hope nothing but the best for you and your family.  God Bless you and your family.

SEMOIllini wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

Why feel sorry for Weber, he's gotten rich coaching at Illinois and has a multi-million $$$ buy-out.  He'll do just fine.  But to say we could do worse, or say that the team was performing just fine under him is sticking your head in the sand and being apathetic about the level of performance we should expect from Illinois basketball.  A.D. Thomas is expecting better and we should as well.  Weber needs to be at a mid-major (or lower) school where his style matches his talent.  He was unable to get the players he recruited to achieve success or even improve from year to year.  

If all you expect from your coach is to be a "good man",  there are thousands of good men willing to do the job for far less than the millions that Coach Weber received---and they couldn't do much worse.  Really, how many basketball games did Coach Weber's style or half-time adjustments "win" for his teams over the years?  None come to mind?  That's the point!!!  He lost his job because of his coaching, he kept it longer than he should have because he was a "good man".   I wish him well, but I wish the Illini well even more, and that could not happen with him as coach.

Fedupwithstatereps wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

Sorry but Weber rode the coat tails of Bill Self recruits in the glory years of his tenure. Once his recruits began playing it became clear his was in over his head at this level.  I wish him luck and happiness but it's time for him to go.

I'm loving the new AD, Thomas.  So-so is not good enough anymore at Illinois.

PeterE wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

Amen bro' . .  imagine coach actually held accountable for performance and high pay

Oak Park Illini wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

Agreed 150% with your statement. I'm also fed up with mediocrity. We should be doing much better in football, men's basketball, and women's basketball. I can't remember any other time where a school has hired new football, MBB, and WBB head coaches at the same time. Kudos to Mike Thomas for not accepting the status quo.

OKOMIS wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

They needed  “sources” to figure out this guy was gone??? Wow!           

caseytwjw wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

Please take Loren Tate with you, as well as the moderators at the Scout.com "House of Paign" messageboard too. !

Oak Park Illini wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

This is nothing personal against Bruce Weber; I met him once in Chicago and he seems to be a great down-to-earth guy, pleasant to talk with. The bottom line is that he lost control of the program the last 3-4 seasons. Ironically his best success came at SIU with less talented players and his 1st 3 seasons at Illinois with Bill Self's players. Weber actually got more talented players as things progressed, but he could never get over the hump. Like I said before he sealed his own fate with that press conference after the 2nd Purdue game. IMHO after that he lost the team completely and should've been let go right then and there. I'm actually hoping that we don't accept a NIT bid; this program desperately needs a fresh start.


Names I would look at (in rank of preference):


1) Shaka Smart


2) Brad Stevens


3) Frank Martin


4) Gregg Marshall

RPeterE wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

Good list, but Buzz Williams before Gregg Marshall and Frank Martin. I will be bummed if Illinois doesn't get their 1st pick again like in football. But I'll be happy with picks 1-2

Oak Park Illini wrote on March 09, 2012 at 10:03 am

Buzz would be a good fit here too but I can't see him leaving Marquette and the Big East.

houstonillini84 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Yeah, Buzz Williams would be a great fit, if we want a coach who is as classless as some of our fans. Just hire Bruce Pearl and be done with it.

Salukibound wrote on March 09, 2012 at 11:03 am

So Illini faithful..with the firing of your football and mens and womens basketball coaches you basically paid 7.1 million dollars for your new Athletics Director, plus his salary plus the salary of your new coaches....Fiscally sound eh?

PeterE wrote on March 09, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Yup, it sure is : ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): ): )

pitch9 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 11:03 am

Bruce Weber won 2 out of every 3 games he coached at Illinois and it wasn't good enough.  I have a message for Mike Thomas.  "2 out of 3 coaches being successful will not be good enough for you by your own standards."   You now will have "your people" at the top of all three programs.  If they succeed, good for you.  If not, I will be as vocal in my call for your removal as some others have been in their calls for the removal of Coach Weber.  Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.  Here's hoping you will go three for three.

Salt Life wrote on March 09, 2012 at 11:03 am
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^ This kind of attitude is what got Illinois mired in mediocrity and irrelevance.

tunacommander wrote on March 09, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Thomas has proven himself to be underachieving. He might as well wear a clown mask.

PeterE wrote on March 09, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Did you say you were a clown rottingtunacommander? After your comment about bringing Bruce Pearl here as coach, I'm pretty sure you get lots of laughs.

Bear8287 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 3:03 pm

B-ILLINI wrote on March 09, 2012 at 1:03 pm

RPETERE,PETERE,ILLINIPHIL85,MOONPIE, TUNACOMMANDER, You all could use some character lesssons It's apparent you have very little.

Dan Bloeme wrote on March 09, 2012 at 2:03 pm
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Holier than thou, the righteous and the vengeful God himself B-Illini has spoken . .  I'm trembling at the power and might of this more than saintly, judgemental, all knowing super-power. Please forgive us lord of lords.

JDG613 wrote on March 09, 2012 at 6:03 pm

AMEN!!!!  And you can add DaisyJ to that list, as well....

illinidaffodil wrote on March 09, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Big mistake to fire Coach Weber, a top quality head coach.  Says a lot about a lot........

 

Dan Bloeme wrote on March 09, 2012 at 2:03 pm
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Weber wasn't fired without cause. The fact he was fired does say a lot. It says he was a huge failure and is incompetent to be the head coach at Illinois and deliver on expectations. Illinois has just suffered it's worst 6 year string of basketball since the early 70's, missed the NCAA three of the last five years and finished way under .500 in the Big Ten in the past 6 years (50-56). Thomas didn't have to think about decision very hard, it's obvious.

crackerman wrote on March 09, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Why is anyone still debating whether Weber should have gotten fired? Anyone that stands on the side of "Weber is such a nice guy", he did'nt deserve this, are absolutely clueless! At what point was Weber going to turn this program around? Why is it so hard for some to see the trend this program has taking in the past 9 yrs? Funny thing is, Weber has known for a few years this was slipping away from him. Now a new search is on and guess what, the vicious cycle is about to begin all over!

crackerman wrote on March 09, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Anybody read NBC's CollegeBasketballTalk with Nick Fasulo? It pissed me off!

choco640 wrote on March 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

 team is only as good as it's coach AND the players.  A coach can only do well if they have players to work with who are WILLING to work, put the time in, not party, and buckle down.  How about we hold the player's responsible sometimes?  If the coach is gone, then also revoke the player's scholarships and get players in who are wanting to play basketball, do their best, and get a degree.  Not players that are only looking at it like a free ride to party and have a stepping stone to the NBA!  The players need to realize that this is their job also, that is why they get a scholarship!  I know plenty of people that would work their bottoms off to have a full ride scholarship to college!