Illinois' Bruce Weber Fired
Despite a successful run as head coach, Illinois Bruce Weber was released from the university. His legacy includes a run to the national championship game within the first three years of his contract.
Athletic director Mike Thomas said that Bruce Weber was everything a university could want in a coach at a news conference. He added that it felt that the team was just running in place, not moving forward as it needed to.
For nine years Weber led the Illini through thick and thin, including the 2005 NCAA title game. However, the Illinois team did not pull through and lost to North Carolina.
Last season the Illini had a complete lackluster year, closing at 2-12. Last Thursday the team lost the first round of the Big Ten tournament, losing just 64-61 to Iowa. The score was similar just one month before when the team lost to Purdue with a score of 67-62.
Following the loss Bruce Weber took responsibility for the "bad" coaching. He said that he spent the last three years worrying too much about winning, not developing a culture and toughness. He added that the loss was completely his fault.
Fans have never really warmed up to Bruce Weber after he was hired in 2003. Illini fans felt it was a step backwards after such a successful run of the beloved Bill Self (who moved to Kansas). After reaching the championship, Weber's teams just couldn't return.
Though Weber won't be able to coach at the university, it's not a complete loss for him. The University of Illinois will pay him the $3.9 million remaining in his contract.
Weber is not the only casualty of firings. Football coach Ron Zook and basketball coach Jolette Law were also let go. Both coaches will also receive their remaining financial contract.