(UPDATE: 3-30-14: Both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel name Bruce Weber a candidate for the job)
(UPDATE 3-25-14: Shaka Smart rumors discredited, Bruce Weber to MU idea beloved by Marquette fans, K-State fans wish him well)
A source close to the Marquette Athletic Department told The Sports Bank last night that Bruce Weber is interested in the Marquette opening. Which isn’t really news given that Weber was also rumored to be interested in the same job back when Buzz Williams was first hired.
Coincidentally, Kansas State fans have already started expressing concern online over the idea that Bruce Weber could be leaving KSU to come home to Milwaukee. Our source has not confirmed as of yet that Marquette has reciprocated any interest in Weber. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Marquette fans from also expressing concern online over the idea that Bruce Weber could be leaving KSU to come home to Milwaukee.
So let’s get Donald Rumsfeldian and dig into all the “known unknowns” and “unknown knowns” in this situation.
Why Bruce Weber to Marquette makes sense/could happen
-As a Milwaukee native who attended Marquette high school, this IS his dream job, and it was rumored that he was interested in this gig back when Tom Crean left this job vacant. Openings like this don’t come along everyday.
-Bruce Weber has had success at every stop in his coaching career. Covering the Illini for many years, a common Weberism I’ve often heard at press conferences is “just be solid.” Weber is definitely that: solid.
-During his tenure at Illinois, Weber was rumored to be headed to Arkansas in 2007 and Oklahoma in 2011. Obviously, he didn’t bolt Champaign for either gig, but it shows that Weber has a history of exploring all of his options with outside schools. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We all seek to maximize our career opportunities. There’s nothing more American than being “free enterprise.” After all, SIU was a stepping stone to Illinois for Bruce Weber.
-There’s reportedly been contact between Ben Howland and MU already. Howland was rumored to be a finalist for the DePaul job before it was filled by Oliver Purnell, so he’s been linked to the Big East in the past, and coached at Pitt when it was a Big East school. There’s also been reports that Howland’s asking price is too high so MU is moving on to other candidates.
We’ve also heard Shaka Smart to MU rumors being reported as well. (UPDATE: Shaka story discredited) However, that’s just a rite of passage every March since 2011. “Shaka to school XYZ” stories have popped up every year since Smart’s improbable Final Four run. Also, Smart is signed until 2019 and $1.2 million per. So, have fun with that buyout/trying to re-work that buyout clause.
How does this impact Weber? The departure of Buzz Williams leaves us with a lot more questions than answers. Some of which we attempted to answer here. When Buzz appeared on CBS this past weekend to discuss his new gig with Virginia Tech, he completely dodged the question of why he left MU. Buzz took a $700,000 a year paycut to go to a historically much worse program. Huh?
Point is, the situation in Milwaukee is so unclear at this point that we can’t really rule out Weber any more than we can rule out other candidates at this point. (Other than Tom Crean! and Shaka of course, but then again we never even ruled him in. Unlike the entire Milwaukee media who jumped the gun on his “hire”)
Why Bruce Weber to Marquette makes no sense/won’t happen
“Could Bruce Weber look at Marquette? Sure he could, for several reasons. But, if he leaves K-State, it’s not because of the school or program. The athletics department has never been in better shape, nor has KSU’s position with the NCAA,” Kitchen said.
Bring on the Cats is the K-State SB Nation blog, and a lot more reliable than most of the K-State fan sites out there. Why would Weber bolt stability and security for a place with no permanent A.D. and University President in place?(update: MU hires a new President) How much of a “splash hire” can MU really make with a “transitional government” like this in place?
-Bruce Weber’s Twitter account has reportedly been blocking posters from a certain K-State fan message board. Which members of that specific board believe is another sign of his imminent departure. I don’t read “Weber’s leaving” into that development. Coaches from every school block board posters and Twitter users from college message boards all the time. If you use social media and/or discussion forums, I don’t need to explain to you why that is.
Almost all coaches don’t operate their own Twitter accounts, it’s often an SID instead. So don’t be surprised if Weber himself has nothing to do with that “official account.”
-Our initial list of potential MU head coaching candidates from Friday night did not include Bruce Weber because this hire just “doesn’t past the eye test,” to quote the phrase that’s often used in regards to NCAA Tournament at-large selection.
Paul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An MBA and Fulbright scholar, he’s also a frequent commentator on national talk radio. The former NBC Chicago and Washington Times contributor has also been featured on the History Channel. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)Follow paulmbanks