K-State added 6-foot-9 PF Neville Fincher to its recruiting class on April 20
The camp season kicks off on June 8 with the High School Shootout
Fincher is the fourth signee for the Class of 2013
The senior led the Wildcats in eight categories in 2012-13
The Big 12 Coach of the Year signed a contract extension through 2018
Kansas State vs. Kansas (AP)
Kansas State vs. Oklahoma State
Kansas State vs. Texas - AP Photos
K-State Men's Basketball and fans celebrate the team's first conference title since 1977 at Bramlage Coliseum.
Kansas State vs. Texas (AP)
One of the winningest active Division I coaches with over 300 career wins and eight NCAA Tournament appearances to his credit, Bruce Weber was named the 24th head men's basketball coach at Kansas State on March 31, 2012 by Director of Athletics John Currie. A longtime assistant to K-State alumnus Gene Keady at first, Western Kentucky (1979-80), then Purdue (1981-98) before a successful head coach career at both Southern Illinois (1998-2003) and Illinois (2003-12), Weber has been apart of more than 700 wins and 28 postseason appearances in his 33-year coaching career, which includes 23 trips to the NCAA Tournament.
"I could not be more excited about the opportunity that has presented itself here at K-State," said Weber. "I'm excited and happy to come to a place that has great tradition. When I've talked with people over the last couple of weeks, the main thing they emphasize to me - my mentors and peers -- that I just don't take any job. So I'm very fortunate to take a job where there is already something built. Frank (Martin) has created a positive culture, along with Bob Huggins. It makes it easier as a coach when you go to a place that has tradition. You understand you don't have to recreate, you don't have to re-energize and, obviously, there's some pretty good players here that have had success in both the Big 12 and even in the NCAA Tournament. This is a tremendous job for me."
Weber agreed to a 5-year contract, which was approved by the K-State Athletics, Inc., Board of Directors and President Kirk Schulz, and runs through the 2016-17 season. Weber will be paid $1.5 million in 2012-13 and will receive a $100,000 base salary increase each year remaining on the contract ($1.6 million in 2013-14, $1.7 million in 2014-15, $1.8 million in 2015-16 and $1.9 million in 2016-17).
Weber, 56, has compiled a 313-155 (.669) in his 14 seasons as a head coach, which includes stints at Southern Illinois (1998-2003) and Illinois (2003-12). His .669 winning percentage ranks 28th among active Division I head coaches, including third among head coaches in the Big 12 Conference, while his 313 wins are the 11th-most by a head coach in his first 14 seasons in NCAA history. His teams have participated in postseason play in 10 of his 14 seasons, including eight NCAA Tournament appearances. He has won 11 NCAA Tournament games, including trips to the Sweet 16 in 2002, 2004 and 2005, while his 2004-05 Illinois squad played North Carolina for the NCAA title.
Weber's teams have won a combined five conference regular season and tournament championships, including the 2002 and 2003 Missouri Valley Conference and 2004 and 2005 Big Ten Conference regular season titles. He has won 20 or more games in all but four of his 14 campaigns, including an Illinois school-record 37 wins in 2004-05, and he has averaged 22.4 victories a season in his head coaching career.
"We couldn't be more pleased to welcome Bruce, Megan and the entire Weber family to our K-State family," said Currie. "Bruce Weber exemplifies everything that we were looking for in our next coach, and I look forward to Wildcat Nation having the opportunity to get to know him and his family. His success as a head coach speaks for itself, which includes eight trips to the NCAA Tournament and a national championship game appearance in 2005. But what impresses me even more about Coach Weber are his core values and belief in the advancement of his players not only on the court but also as model student-athletes and citizens. Our intent at the beginning of this process was focus our search on candidates whose personal values and integrity reflect those of our university and citizens of the state and who appreciate the unique opportunity of being part of a strong basketball heritage, and we are confident that Bruce Weber is that person."
Weber has won numerous Coach of the Year honors in his career, including consensus National Coach of the Year accolades in 2005 en route to guiding Illinois to the National Championship game. Among the National Coach of the Year awards earned by Weber in 2005 were the Naismith Award, The Associated Press, Adolph F. Rupp Cup, U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Henry Iba Award, National Association of Basketball Coaches, Chevrolet/ CBS, The Sporting News and Basketball Times. He was also selected as the 2003 Missouri Valley Conference and 2005 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
In all, Weber has 33 years of college coaching experience, which includes 19 seasons as an assistant coach for coaching legend Gene Keady, a native of Garden City, Kan., and 1958 Kansas State graduate. Weber spent his entire assistant coaching career with Keady, first at Western Kentucky (1979-80) and then Purdue (1981-98). The coaching duo helped the Hilltoppers to the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles and a trip to NCAA Tournament in 1980 before moving to West Lafayette and the Purdue Boilermakers the following season. In Weber's 18 years at Purdue, the Boilermakers won six Big Ten titles, played in 14 NCAA Tournaments and made three NIT appearances.
All told, Weber has been a part of more than 700 victories, 23 NCAA Tournament appearances and 11 conference championships in his coaching career, which has included stops at Western Kentucky, Purdue, Southern Illinois and Illinois.
The Illinois Years (2003-12)
Weber's 210 wins rank third in school history behind Lou Henson (423; 1976-96) and Harry Combes (316; 1948-67), while his nine-year stint was the longest since Henson retired in 1996 and represents the fifth-longest in school history. In addition, his win total is the second-most in Big Ten history by a coach after his first nine years, while his .675 winning percentage ranks as the seventh-highest of any head coach in Big Ten history who coached at least nine seasons in the conference. His winning percentage is higher than mentor Gene Keady (.611) as well as other Big Ten icons Branch McCracken (Indiana), Tom Davis (Iowa), Lou Henson (Illinois), Johnny Orr (Michigan) and Jud Heathcote (Michigan State). In addition, his 89 Big Ten wins rank 26th all-time in the league's history.
Weber had five players taken in the NBA Draft during his stint at Illinois, as Deron Williams (No. 3, Utah Jazz) and Luther Head (No. 24, Houston Rockets) were taken in the first round of the 2005 Draft, James Augustine (No. 41, Orlando Magic) and Dee Brown (No. 46, Utah Jazz) were chosen in the second round of the 2006 Draft and Meyers Leonard (No. 11, Portland Trail Blazers) was selected in the first round of the 2012 Draft. Utah's selection of Williams at No. 3 overall in the 2005 lottery made him the highest-drafted players in Illinois history. A current Brooklyn Net and three-time NBA All-Star (2010, 2011, 2012), Williams recently helped Team USA win gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games for the second consecutive Games.
Weber coached five All-Americans at Illinois, including three during the run to the Final Four in 2004-05, while Dee Brown became the first Fighting Illini player in more than 50 years to earn consensus first team All-American status in 2005. Brown was also selected as The Sporting News National Player of the Year in 2005 to go along with Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive of the Year honors. Weber also coached three consensus second team All-Americans in Luther Head (2005), Deron Williams (2005) and Brown (2006). In addition, Brown earned the Bob Cousy Award, as the nation's top point guard, and the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, as the nation's top player as a senior in 2006.
In total, Weber coached 27 All-Big Ten selections, including seven first team honorees, during his time at Illinois to go with one Big Ten Player of the Year (Dee Brown, 2005), one Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (Dee Brown, 2005) and one Big Ten Freshman of the Year (D.J. Richardson, 2010). He also helped coach three to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and three to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, including two-time selection and current assistant coach Chester Frazier. In addition, 20 players earned recognition to the Academic All-Big Ten team during Weber's tenure.
Hired as the 16th head coach in Illinois history on April 30, 2003, Weber saw immediate success in his first season in Champaign, as he led the Fighting Illini to 26-7 overall record and the school's first outright Big Ten title in 52 years with a 13-3 league mark in 2003-04. He became just the third coach in Big Ten history to win a conference title in his first year in the league. The squad won 10 consecutive games to end the regular season, including six straight road wins, to clinch the title. Armed with a balanced team with four players in double figures, Illinois knocked off Murray State, 72-53, and Cincinnati, 92-68, in the NCAA Atlanta First/Second Rounds in Columbus, Ohio before losing to top-seed Duke, 72-62, in Georgia Dome.
The following year, Weber guided the team to 29 consecutive victories to open the 2004-05 campaign. It marked the best start in school history and 12th-best start in NCAA Division I history. During the 100th season of Illinois basketball, Weber would take the Fighting Illini all the way to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament. Illinois closed the year with a 37-2 record (then tying the NCAA record for wins in a season), claiming both the Big Ten regular season title and tournament title. Weber's team won the Big Ten regular-season title with a 15-1 record, becoming the first head coach in Big Ten history to win outright conference titles in his first two years in the league. The Fighting Illini were ranked No. 1 in the nation for 15 consecutive weeks, including a first-ever No. 1 ranking in the final The Associated Press poll.
Weber's Illinois squad defeated Fairleigh Dickinson, 67-55, and Nevada, 71-59, in the NCAA Chicago First/Second Round in Indianapolis, Ind., before dispatching of Milwaukee, 77-63, and Arizona, 90-89, in overtime in Rosemont, Ill., to earn the school's first Final Four in 16 years. Led by National Player of the Year and consensus All-American Dee Brown as well as All-Americans Luther Head and Deron Williams and, the Fighting Illini knocked off fourth-ranked Louisville, 72-57, in the first national semifinal to reach the championship game for the first time in school history. In a battle of the nation's two best teams, No. 2 North Carolina used a late rally to earn a 75-70 victory and deny top-ranked Illinois its first NCAA title. Head and Williams were both selected to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament teams.
The Big Ten Coach of the Year, Weber swept the 2005 National Coach of the Year awards, claiming the Naismith Award (the most prestigious coaching award in college basketball); the Henry Iba Award, presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association; and the Adolph F. Rupp Cup. He was also National Coach of the Year by National Association of Basketball Coaches, Associated Press, The Sporting News, Basketball Times, CBS/Chevrolet, Victor Awards and Nike Championship Basketball Clinic.
With a depleted roster that had six different players combine to miss a total of 58 games due to injury during the 2006-07 season, Illinois still advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season under Weber en route to fourth straight 20-win season at 23-12 overall and a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten with a 9-7 record. Three players were named to the All-Big Ten team.
Weber suffered his first and only losing season as a head coach in 2007-08, as the Fighting Illini fell to a 16-19 overall record and a tie for ninth in the Big Ten with a 5-13 mark. After losing eight games by less than seven points at one point in the season, the squad came on strong to win four of its last five and five of its final seven games, culminating with a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Tournament. Weber's Illinois squad became the first No. 10 seed in the tournament's history to advance to the title game, winning three games in three days with victories over Penn State, No. 17 Purdue and Minnesota to reach the championship game vs. No. 8 Wisconsin.
Weber's 2008-09 squad was one of the most improved teams in the country, as the Fighting Illini posted a 24-10 overall record, including a tie for second place in the Big Ten with an 11-7 mark, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six seasons. With 10 more regular season victories than it achieved the year before, Illinois tallied the third-biggest turnaround in NCAA Division I and the second-largest turnaround among BCS programs on the year. The team earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA West Regional in Portland, Ore., where they lost to upstart Western Kentucky, 76-72, before finishing the year ranked 24th in the Pomeroy rankings.
The 2008-09 Illinois team was best known for its team-first style of play, as they led the nation in assist rate, recording assists on an impressive 69.3 percent of its field goals on the season. The team also led the Big Ten and ranked seventh nationally in assists, averaging 17.5 assists per game.
Weber's teams have a tradition of playing strong defense. The 2008-09 season sparked a run of three consecutive years Illinois led the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense in conference games. In 2011, Illinois' conference foes shot just 39.6 percent from the field and 29.9 percent from 3-point range. That followed the 2010 season that saw opponents shoot just 39 percent overall. Weber's team led the Big Ten and ranked third nationlly in scoring defense in 2009, holding foes to an average of 57.2 points a game.
Weber recorded his seventh 20-win season at Illinois in 2010-11 with a 20-14 record, as the squad spent more than of the season in the Top 25 and finished a tie for fourth place in a competitive Big Ten race that resulted in the conference having a record-tying seven teams in the NCAA Tournament. With its NCAA second-round victory over UNLV (and current Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger), Illinois defeated a higher-seeded team for the second time in school history and recorded its first tournament win since 2006 before falling to top-seed Kansas in the second round. The team finished the year ranked 18th in the Ken Pomeroy's rankings and 25th in Jeff Sagarin's ratings.
A team loaded with six freshmen, Weber guided the Fighting Illini to a 17-15 overall record in 2011-12, including a tie for ninth in the Big Ten with a 6-12 mark. The squad jumped out to a 15-3 record, which included wins over NCAA Tournament teams Gonzaga, St. Bonaventure, UNLV and No. 5 Ohio State, before the youthful Illini dropped 12 of their last 14 games. Two players were named to the All-Big Ten team, including sophomore Meyers Leonard, who opted to forgo his final two college season for the NBA Draft and was selected with the No. 11 pick by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Weber has earned a solid reputation in the college ranks as a coach who stresses player development and fosters an unselfish brand of basketball where the most important facet is team chemistry. His teams strive for up-tempo motion offense coupled with hard-nosed man-to-man defense.
Offensively, Weber's teams have proven to be efficient with the ball in averaging 70 or more points in five of his nine seasons with Illinois. The Illini led the Big Ten in scoring in 2004 (72.8 ppg.) and ranked second in 2005 (77.0 ppg.). His teams at Southern Illinois also scored the ball well with averages of 75.5 ppg. (2002) and 74.5 ppg. (2003) in his final two seasons. In 2009, Weber's Illini led the nation in assist rate with an impressive 69.3 percent of Illinois' baskets scored off of an assist. Illinois also led the Big Ten and ranked seventh nationally with 17.5 assists per game that season.
A trademark of Weber-led teams are its fundamentally sound defense, holding opponents to less than 43 percent shooting each of the last 11 seasons, led by 39.5 percent field goal percentage defense in 2008-09, 40 percent seven times (2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2010-11), 41 percent in 2004-05 and 42 percent in 2003-04. Illinois led the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense during conference play three of his last four seasons and topped the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense two of the last four years.
In 2008, Weber's Illini were 19th in the NCAA in scoring defense and 24th in field goal percentage defense. The team led the Big Ten and ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense in 2007, allowing just 57.1 points per game. The squad also paced the conference and ranked 11th nationally in scoring defene in 2006, giving up an average of 58.7 points per game.
Southern Illinois Years (1998-2003)
Named head coach at Southern Illinois in April 1998, Weber led the Salukis to its first winning season in four years with a 15-12 overall record in 1998-99, including a tie for fifth-place in the Missouri Valley. He followed with the school's first 20-win season since 1994-95 in year two, which included a trip to the 2000 NIT. He led the school to its first postseason victory since 1990-91 with a 94-92 win at Colorado in the first round before losing at BYU in the second round. Weber is the second K-State head coach with SIU ties, as all-time wins leader Jack Hartman posted a 142-64 (.689) record as the Salukis' head coach from 1962-70.
Western Kentucky and Purdue Years (1980-98)
USA Basketball Experience
Coaches vs. Cancer
Weber and his wife, Megan, of 32 years, have three daughters: Hannah, Christy and Emily.