I don't want to rain on anybody's parade, just thought I would share.
Seeing Bruce Weber get fired from Illinois was a strange thing for me. Not because it came as a surprise, but because in the season I started on the college basketball beat for SI, in 2004-05, Weber was on top of the coaching world. He had the best show on hardwood, and nearly went undefeated in the regular season with a backcourt of Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Luther Head. That was Weber’s second year in Champaign, and there was no doubt that he had taken Bill Self’s players and made them better. It seemed that the former Southern Illinois coach would have a long and prosperous career with the Illini* — that he would reap the recruiting rewards of a run to the national title game and build future powerhouses. The powerhouses never materialized. A string of hard luck, recruiting misses and declining offensive production led to him being ousted from the job this week.
I’m not going use Weber’s story to lament the state of job security in the game. Illinois needed to make a change, Weber got a $3.9 million buyout and he’ll have immediate options to coach at the mid-major level — potentially even at SIU, which fired Chris Lowery last week. For me, it’s a reminder of how quickly a coach’s fortunes can change. There has been much hailing of the job Frank Haith has done with Mike Anderson’s players at Missouri, and although Haith has done an amazing job, it evokes memories of what Weber pulled off in ’04-05. That was a magical season, but it was no guarantee of long-term happiness.*
*emphasis my own.
At first I thought this was a subtle dig at Bill Self, then I became concerned because it sounded like a dig at Frank Haith's story. I thought it was a bit of a reality check, albeit a harsh one. I hoped that perhaps this would put somethings in perspective.