By Paul M. Banks
If you’ve ever seen University of Illinois Men’s basketball Head Coach Bruce Weber on television, you might notice what a happy-go-lucky guy he appears to be. In person, he’s just the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. One might even call him “cuddly.” That’s why I was shocked to learn that someone might actually treat him like a potentially dangerous criminal or terrorist.
There were numerous complaints about Detroit being the 2009 Final Four’s host city. Prepare to add another one to the list. During the final weekend of March Madness, the coaches stayed across the border in Windsor, Ontario. This led to international intrigue and authorities singling out Weber, a man who recently signed an extension (with a 50% pay raise) to coach at Illinois until 2015.
“Coach Keady’s wife passed away, and Matt Painter and I were his assistants; so with his wife’s illness, we had to run the practices. We had to go back and forth to Windsor. A couple of times it took two hours to get through the tunnel from Canada back to Detroit. You’re talking just three miles, but it took forever. And one day we got stopped and pulled over, and they had to check out our car. We laughed and it took a while, but then one guy came out and said: ‘Well, I’m a Michigan fan, that’s why we pulled you over, and we can make a commercial out of it,’ and we laughed.” Weber said this during the recent National Association of Basketball Coaches’ “Court of Honor” Gala in Chicago.
So there’s yet another reason (sort of) to hate Michigan Wolverines fans: a real life version of the Jordan brand advertisement that we all saw during March Madness.
However, this was not the only time the authorities decided to mess with Bruce.
“And then the next day we got pulled over, again. This time I was by myself, and I said to the guys, ‘What is going on?’ And they said, ‘Well you got a rental car, and you’re going back and forth.’ Because we have practices and meetings. It was a little bit of a hassle at the time, but I guess it’s good they’re trying to protect our country.”
It’s good to hear Weber maintain his jolly demeanor; even as he encountered some of the most annoying situations possible.Follow paulmbanks