Blog Entry

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

Posted on: February 16, 2012 11:46 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 1:05 pm
 
In his post-game press conference after Wednesday's loss, Illinois head coach Bruce Weber sounded defeated. (US Presswire)

By Gary Parrish


Bruce Weber should've taken the Oklahoma job last year.

I believed it then.

I believe it more than ever now because the Illinois coach lost for the seventh time in eight games Wednesday night when his Illini fell 67-62 at home to Purdue, and afterward Weber sounded like a man who knows the end is near. He publicly questioned his players. He publicly questioned himself. Privately, he must be second-guessing his decision to pass on various job opportunities the past few years -- most recently Oklahoma last March -- because barring a massive turnaround he'll either be fired or forced to resign within a few days of Illinois' final game this season.

Weber stayed at Illinois too long.

It's a mistake too many coaches make in an era when -- unless you're a surebet Hall of Famer like a Boeheim, a Calhoun, a Pitino, a Self, a Donovan, etc., -- you'd be wise to move every six or seven years. Changing jobs revitalizes you and keeps you from growing content. It also keeps you fresh among your fanbase and ensures you're always one step ahead of the so-called posse.

Leave them before they get tired of you.

Leave them before you start to level out or dip.

Rather than do that, Weber gambled that he'd compete for a Big Ten title in his ninth season and advance deep into the NCAA tournament, and that looks like a bad gamble as he sits tied for seventh in the league with a 5-8 record. But here's the truth: It was always a bad gamble because the Illini fans had already turned on Weber, and once that happens it's nearly impossible to turn them back around. Sure, you can hold them off with temporary success. But once fans stop believing you're the future you're always just one bad season away from a pink slip, and Weber is learning that now.

And it's a tough break for a good man.

Weber is genuinely respected by his peers, and my favorite story to prove this comes from last July when I spent three days on the recruiting trail with Michigan State's Tom Izzo. After a long first day of watching games in Indianapolis, Izzo and I had a private plane set to take us to Akron late on that Wednesday night so that we'd be fresh and ready to go first thing Thursday morning at the LeBron James Skills Academy. Weber did not have a private plane. He instead had a 3:45 a.m. wakeup call that would allow him to grab a commercial flight and take a more inconvenient route to the exact same place we were going, and when Izzo heard this he invited Weber to travel with us. Later, I asked Izzo why he offered a lift to Weber considering the plane was in essence an advantage in a recruiting battle for multiple prospects between Michigan State and Illinois. "I wouldn't do it for anybody," Izzo answered. "But if you lose a kid to Bruce you know it wasn't underhanded. You know he's going to do things the right way."

That's the best compliment a coach could ever give a fellow coach.

But that won't be enough to save Weber's job.

He's had recruiting problems at times and coaching issues at others, but right now, more than anything, he seems to have a problem of disconnect. His players have stopped responding to him. His fans have turned on him. The result is that his Illinois tenure is close to ending, and I can't help but think Weber would've been better off ending it a year ago on his own terms by accepting a seven-year contract worth roughly $17 million from a Big 12 school willing to give him a fresh start and clean slate.
Comments

Since: Apr 3, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:08 am
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

It is this mindset that is ruining sports.  Did you ever stop to think that Paterno, or Boeheim, or Calhoun, etc... go to their status and fan adoration BY staying put for so long?

What ever happened to loyalty?  The only reason coached have "stayed too long" and are losing their jobs so quickly is because idiot writers like you have perpetuated the idea that schools should move on when things don't go right and have created a win at all cost atmosphere.

We need more people speaking AGAINST articles like this and demanding a little loyalty from our programs rather than demanding coaches pack up their lives every 6 years to "keep things fresh."  No coach wants to do that.  They all hope to find a permanent home and become that next long-term HOF coach.

I think CBS needs to freshen things up and fire Parrish so he can move on from job to job.  See how you like it. 



Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:35 am
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

Was that flight with Izzo before or after Bruce Weber made up the rumor about Anthony Davis going to UK for $200,000? Yea he's all class.



Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:19 am
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

What do you mean, "he's a good man"? Weber is a classless douchebag who lived off the profits of Bill Self's recruits and shot barbs at Self while taking Illinois to the national title game. It felt good to beat his ass in last year's NCAA Tournament. I love seeing UofI lose, and I'd love to see his sorry ass fired. Then we'll know that it's Bruce Weber, and not Bill Self, we should be having a funeral for.



Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:17 am
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

so that we'd be fresh and ready to go first thing Thursday morning
What do you mean 'we,' Parrish?  Did you open the the Skills Academy on Thursday morning with some kind of journalist spin move?

  



Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:17 am
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

so that we'd be fresh and ready to go first thing Thursday morning
What do you mean 'we,' Parrish?  Did you open the the Skills Academy on Thursday morning with some kind of journalist spin move?

  



Since: Mar 18, 2007
Posted on: February 16, 2012 8:32 pm
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

They do have potential. Illinois has underacheived but we will see how they do in march. If they can get the the sweet 16, he will probably save his job. As a Purdue fan, I hope that good coaches like him stay in the Big Ten.




Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2012 7:07 pm
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

The Illini should make a run at Brad Stevens. Unless Butler wins the Horizon League tournament, they aren't going to the NCAA's this year and Stevens should realize Illinois has a much higher upside than Butler has (and Tom Crean seems to have Indiana back on track). The last two years Stevens couldn't walk away from Butler after miracle runs and his price was sky high. Now Brad may be a Mark Few who never wants to leave, but I think it would be a lot easier for Brad to leave Butler now (barring another miracle NCAA run).

If Stevens turns the Illinois job down, how about Scott Drew of Baylor? They will always be in Texas's shadow.



Since: Apr 7, 2010
Posted on: February 16, 2012 4:45 pm
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

Weber should have just kept his yap shut after the Purdue loss. I don't blame the guy for being frustrated with some of the
dogs on his team. If he gets the axe he will land somewhere else.




Since: Apr 1, 2011
Posted on: February 16, 2012 4:07 pm
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

"Izzo and I had a private plane set to take us to Akron late on that Wednesday night so that we'd be fresh and ready to go first thing Thursday morning at the LeBron James Skills Academy."  Did you go 50/50 or did you let Izzo ride for free?


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com