SE: Weber Honored by Recognitions, Driven to Help People

Joseph Chamley doesn’t exactly follow college basketball, but occasionally he will check in on one coach in particular: K-State’s Bruce Weber. 

Why Chamley, living in Champaign, Illinois, keeps tabs on the Wildcats’ head coach has nothing to do with Weber’s success on the court and everything to do with his generosity off of it. 

It’s why Chamley and his wife, Amy, nominated Weber for the Wartburg College Graven Award, which he received September 6 in Waverly, Iowa. 

“It was a nice honor,” Weber said of receiving the award, including his wife, Megan, in the honor. “When we do things, we don’t do it to be honored, but, at the same time, if in the long haul it’s going to help bring some awareness and getting people thinking about helping and giving, it’s a positive thing.”

The Graven Award, in its 27th year, is presented to a person “whose life is nurtured and guided by a strong sense of Christian calling and who is making a significant contribution to community, church and society,” a Wartburg College press release stated

For the Chamleys, that description screamed Bruce Weber. 

“We were just thinking about it and it came to our mind, Bruce Weber is a really great example of that. He’s a prominent person, but yet he’s so down to Earth,” said Chamley, whose wife is a member of Wartburg’s Board of Regents. “He’s a great example for our young people of how you can do good at the same time that you do well. You can be successful and still, as they say, have your feet on the ground, understand what’s going in the world and support your community.”

The two families came to know each other during Weber’s coaching stint at Illinois through the Good Shepherds Lutheran Church. Chamley said the Webers’ commitment to the church and community was extremely evident.  

“Even though he was a very prominent person in the community, they were always at church. There’d be games on a Saturday night out of town and he, Megan and their children would be at church the next day. You don’t always see that, quite frankly. It really struck me as how grounded they were,” Chamley said. “As time goes on, you learn about the various charities that he would support. He wouldn’t do it in a flashy way, but you just knew that they cared and they really wanted to support the community, and they really did and they still do.” 

Weber’s philanthropic impact has been vast, highlighted by his involvement in Coaches vs. Cancer that helped earn him the 2007 Champions Award. He’s continued to be a leader for the charity, holding a student-involved event for it the last four years at K-State that has raised roughly $75,000. 

Weber said Coaches vs. Cancer is “near and dear” to him and his wife for the personal losses they’ve endured over the years.  

“Whether it was her mom or my grandmother or uncles or cousins or teammates and now some of my former assistants have passed away,” he said. “If we can help out, raise money, bring awareness and maybe prevent somebody from not making it, not winning the battle, it’s a positive.”

Weber and his wife have also been actively involved in helping the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan and United Way, which they were named honorary chairs of this year. 

“I understand that it’s important that if I can lend my name and face to it and get some recognition, it might get people’s attention and help them give back,” said Weber, entering his fifth season at K-State with nearly 400 wins in his career. “Our church, our university, we try to give back to and then the community, that’s where United Way has a big effect and affects a lot of people in need.” 

Growing up, Weber said his parents laid the groundwork for the values he still carries and now works to pass on to others. 

“Our parents didn’t have a whole bunch, but they always were involved, whether it was our churches or our community or whenever they could volunteer. I was kind of just brought up that way to be involved,” he said. “I kind of told myself as I was coming up in the coaching world that if I ever got to the top level and got to be a head coach at a school that I would make sure I would give back and help whoever I could as much as I could.”

It’s this mentality that has rubbed off on many who’ve crossed paths with Weber, who spoke three times to a wide range of groups during his trip to Wartburg — a Liberal Arts College of the Evangelical Lutheran Church with about 1,600 students.

At the college’s Opening Convocation, he addressed the incoming freshmen on adjusting to their new stage in life. Later, he spoke to the men’s and women’s basketball teams on topics such as motivation, team play and leadership, before concluding the day with an acceptance speech that included the school’s student-athletes, faculty and others from within the community. 

“It was a nice day, a special event,” Weber said. “Their hospitality was incredible and it was just a neat opportunity to be part of.”

Chamley, also in attendance, said the experience was equally rewarding for those listening. 

“It was such a great example for young people. We just thought that having him come out and talk to our opening freshmen would just be really a special treat. It really was,” he said. “Bruce and Megan are so gracious, warm and friendly. It was really uplifting.”