March Madness: Weber Firing Has Illinois Looking For Replacement

March Madness: Weber Firing Has Illinois Looking For Replacement

After nine years as head coach at Illinois, Bruce Weber has been fired. The decision came a day after the Illini lost to Iowa 64-61 in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

Leaving the school with a record of 210-101, Weber is the third winningest coach in school history. His tenure as the Illini coach also includes an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2004, and an appearance in the 2005 NCAA title game.

Although Weber’s resume at Illinois started out very impressive, his teams for the last six seasons have been average at best. And after they stared this season 10-0, only to  end with a dismal 17-15 mark, Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas cut Weber loose. Weber is the third coach to have been fired by Thomas, who is still in his first year as AD. Ex-football coach Ron Zook and women’s basketball coach Jolette Law were the other two coaches let go by Thomas.

Current VCU head coach, Shaka Smart, is rumored to be the favorite for the vacant position after leading his team to the Final Four last season. Smart also has a working history with Thomas.

Other coaches likely to get a look  are  Brad Stevens, who lead Butler to two straight NCAA title game appearances in 2010-11, and Frank Martin of Kansas State, which currently has a 114-51 record spanning the  past five years under Martin. Several more names have also been mentioned as possibilities. 


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