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: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 1:23 am
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

Steve Alford to Illinois?



Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: February 19, 2012 7:31 pm
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

McCamey ruined Weber at Illinois. He was a trap player because he could just be so apathetic throughout a game, yet win it single-handedly at the end. If he had the desire that night. But then, what happens if Weber benches McCamey the past couple years? Do they really develop a toughness and urgency that they so dearly lack or do they lose more and Weber gets fired even sooner? Brandon Paul appears to be developing like that. And the people talking about Leonard going pro.... He would be a bust in the NBA at this point. He can't even dominate a Purdue team with nobody down low.

I don't think recruiting has been as much of a problem for Weber. He has solid recruiting classes coming in. He just may be better off as an assistant at a major or HC at a mid-major. It appears he has some difficulty dealing with the top recruits or maybe dealing with the top players he has chosen to recruit.

It's too bad. He appears to be a beer and pizza type guy in a world of Calipari's and Self's.



Since: Jun 5, 2009
Posted on: February 19, 2012 3:47 am
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

Recruiting has always been bad under Weber.

I think Bruce Weber is a great guy and a good coach, but he has never gotten the best out of his players.  And, back when he had some great players, they coached themselves to some degree.  Or, though he coached, they generated their own drive.  Since Weber has been at Illinois there has not been the drive to be better that is supposed to come from the coach.  I thought this year (without McCamey) would be an improvement in that respect.  But no.  I do think Weber has lost the players.

For their sake I hope they can turn it around and at least make an appearance in the tournament, maybe win a game or two.  But, even then, Weber needs to go.



Since: Mar 1, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 6:41 pm
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

Tom Izzo certainly is an expert at underhanded, negative recruiting, so I guess he must be right about Weber.  Izzo built the first ten years of his program by mentioning the Ed Martin scandal, which he called the "Fab Five Scandal," every chance he got to the parents of everyone he recruited.  So, when Izzo speaks of "underhanded" recruiting, he is definitely speaking from experience.

I am surprised that the Spartan fanbase hasn't turned on Izzo.  After all, he was one LBJ OK away from coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Izzo has to be doing some heavy-duty spin-doctoring to get anyone to believe his "Spartan for Life" spiel.  He seems to have gotten his locker room back, at least this year, so he must be really good at being "underhanded."
Wah Wah Wah Wah Wah. Still bitter after all these years little brother?  I'm so torn about who to root for tonight. Kinda like when um plays nd but,  a 0-0 tie in basketball is impossible.

But on to important stuff.  Since it appears Weber's team has abandoned him in Lincoln NE does he "abandon" them and resign now? Maybe it lights a fire under his team's collective tushie and pushes them to finish strong and make teh dance? What say ye loyal illini?



Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 4:17 pm
 

Funny

Tom Izzo certainly is an expert at underhanded, negative recruiting, so I guess he must be right about Weber.  Izzo built the first ten years of his program by mentioning the Ed Martin scandal, which he called the "Fab Five Scandal," every chance he got to the parents of everyone he recruited.  So, when Izzo speaks of "underhanded" recruiting, he is definitely speaking from experience.

I am surprised that the Spartan fanbase hasn't turned on Izzo.  After all, he was one LBJ OK away from coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Izzo has to be doing some heavy-duty spin-doctoring to get anyone to believe his "Spartan for Life" spiel.  He seems to have gotten his locker room back, at least this year, so he must be really good at being "underhanded."  

 



Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: February 18, 2012 12:29 pm
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

Despite having five final fours, Illinois isn't one of those "power programs" anyways in basketball. 

Webber should be fired, but it's not Illinois will find better. So many better programs out there. 



Since: Mar 3, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:55 am
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

Maybe the Illini should look at an Illinois kid who has been tearing up the Big 10 since he arrived in Columbus Ohio?  With his ability to recruit and with Chicago's talent nearby, the dominant team could be Illinois instead of Ohio State or Michigan State! 



Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: February 18, 2012 9:50 am
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

First Illinois football, now Illinois basketball.  How many schools have seen this radical (and sudden) competitive demise of BOTH hoops and gridiron programs?  Seems to me the problem goes deeper in these programs than simply head coaches.  Maybe it's time to take a long, hard look at the President and AD.    



Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: February 18, 2012 4:58 am
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

Bruce is definitely done in Champaign. With that being said, I think Southern Illinois would take him back in a second. Weber is more suited to coach in the Valley anyway and both parties would benefit from a reunion.



Since: Feb 17, 2012
Posted on: February 17, 2012 7:56 pm
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

The only reason Izzo gave him a ride was because you couldn't find a coach in the BIG10 that wouldn't want a loser like Weber to stay in the conference!  Except maybe Tubby and he's in the same boat!  Great guys...boring coaches.


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