Champaign, IL – Illinois' incredible collapse has apparently cost Bruce Weber his job.
A Friday news conference has been scheduled by Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas to discuss the men's basketball program and the News-Gazette of Champaign has reported that Weber has been fired.
The Fighting Illini suffered their 12th loss in 14 games after dropping a 64-61 decision to Iowa in the Big Ten quarterfinals on Thursday. Illinois was 15-3 in mid-January and entered the rankings after an upset of Ohio State, but it was mostly downhill from there.
Thursday's loss left Illinois at 17-15 and hoping for an invitation to the NIT or one of the other lower-tier postseason tournaments.
Weber was in his ninth season with the Illini and finished his tenure with a record of 210-101, a pair of Big Ten regular-season championships and one Big Ten Tournament crown. He also took the program to within a game of an NCAA championship, as Illinois lost to North Carolina in the title game of 2005 NCAA Tournament.
Only once did Illinois finish below .500 under Weber. The 2007-08 squad at 16-19, but the Illini rebounded with a trio of 20-win seasons and two NCAA Tournament berths. However, the Illini have had just two NCAA tourney wins since the run to the championship game seven years ago.
This year's team was on track to easily surpass the 20-win plateau after the big win over Ohio State, but three straight losses by a combined 11 points followed.
After a one-point win over Michigan State left the Illini with a 5-4 record in the Big Ten to conclude January, a six-game losing streak ensued. The low point was an 80-57 drubbing at the hands of Nebraska. Illinois finished 6-12 in the conference, including just 1-8 on the road.
Weber was a long-time assistant under Gene Keady, first at Western Kentucky in 1979-80 and at Purdue for the following 18 seasons. He was given his first head coaching position at Southern Illinois in 1998 and guided the Salukis to a record of 103-54 with a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in five seasons before taking over for Bill Self at Illinois for the 2003-04 campaign.
In 14 seasons as a head coach, Weber owns a record of 313-155.
According to the News-Gazette, Weber is owed $3.9 million as a buyout from a contract extension that was slated to run through the 2014-15 season.