CITY OF KANSAS, MO. – Bruce Weber resigned as basketball coach at Kansas State on Thursday, a day after the Wildcats lost to West Virginia in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament to end a third straight losing season.
He did not leave quietly.
First, the longtime coach criticized the NCAA for its handling of the FBI investigation into college basketball corruption. Weber then hit Kansas State fans who used social media to reprimand him and his show. And finally, he expressed his desire to continue coaching, asking “some (sports director) out there to appreciate a coach who graduates players, wins championships, supports the university and embraces the community.”
“I’ve been preparing for this for a long time,” said Weber, who has one year left on his contract. “I started training, I started teaching, because my father and mother thought there was no better life to do. To help others. That was my goal.
“I hope it has impacted people and helped them with their lives so that they can now help others.”
Weber, 65, was a very unpopular choice to replace Frank Martin when he was hired by former athletic director John Currie in 2012, shortly after Illinois fired him. Weber was pondering intermediate work when Currie selected him to take over a program that had suddenly reached national prominence after six consecutive seasons of 20 wins.
Weber kept the momentum going for a while. He led the Wildcats to a portion of the Big 12 title in his first season, made five NCAA tournaments in his first seven seasons, and added a portion of another conference title just four years ago.
But the last few years have been a struggle, and all of Weber’s support for most of the previous decade has simply disappeared. He was forced to completely rebuild the roster after the 2019 season, then struggled to recruit at one level to get the Wildcats back to the point where they were competing for the championships.
They were 9-20 last season and 14-17 this season, leaving Weber – who led the Illini to the national championship game in 2005 – with a record 184-147 with the Wildcats. His professional record, including a highly successful career in Southern Illinois that included two appearances in NCAA tournaments, stands at 407-301 with 13 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
“The negativity surrounding K-State times is really sad for me,” Weber said. “This is the only school I’ve been associated with that I tell our recruits to avoid our social media. I’m afraid of what they’ll see. Hopefully that can change, maybe with the new coach, and everyone can be positive about athletics K “State and K-State.”
Weber made headlines after losing to the Mountaineers at the T-Mobile Center on Wednesday night when he criticized the NCAA for handling the FBI’s investigation in recent years. Weber said he refused to cut his silver hair until the schools identified in the investigation were punished, which some took as a blow to rival Kansas.
The Jayhawks have appealed their sanctions to the Independent Liability Resolution Process, while another member of the Big 12, the state of Oklahoma, is serving a post-season ban this year.
“We won titles. We did it the right way,” Weber said. “I’m on the NCAA ethics committee. I was told they were going to take care of the FBI people, so I told someone I’m going to let my hair grow until something happens. Obviously it’s still growing.
“That’s the sad part of our business,” Weber added. “Lon Kruger told me the other day that all the guys in the FBI (probe) except one are in the NCAA Tournament. All those teams will be in the NCAA Tournament.”
However, the Wildcats will be sitting at home for the third year in a row, this time thinking about their next coach.
As for Weber, his immediate plans are to spend more time with his family, including four rebellious grandchildren. But it was his wife, Megan, who made sure Weber didn’t close the door on training again.
“She said,‘ You’re not done. Don’t tell people you’re retiring, “Weber said.
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Bruce Weber resigns as basketball coach at Kansas State
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