The K-State Athletic Department announced this afternoon that it had reached a deal with men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber on a four-year contract extension. The contract will pay Weber $2.5 million in 2018-19, escalating by $100,000 each year of the deal, with a final-year salary of $2.9 million in 2022-23.
Weber came to K-State as head coach in 2012, after Frank Martin departed for the job with South Carolina. He has a 125-80 (.610) record, including 55-53 (.509) in Big 12 play, at K-State, and won a share of the Big 12 Championship his first season in Manhattan, but the team suffered a downturn after that high. A 15-17 record in 2014-15 was K-State’s first losing record since 2002-03 under Jim Wooldridge, and a mass exodus of players — some transferring, others dismissed from the team — put Weber’s future in serious doubt.
He bounced back the past two seasons, going a combined 46-26 over that time. In 2017, the Wildcats got back to the NCAA Tournament and won a play-in game. This past season, the team placed fourth in the Big 12 and advanced all the way to the Elite Eight, beating Creighton, UMBC, and Kentucky. It was Weber’s first time advancing past the round of 64 in Manhattan, and he did it with no seniors in the rotation and first-team all-conference star Dean Wade mostly unavailable because of a foot injury. That tournament run, along with the development of new stars since the earlier roster implosion, helped win over a lot of Weber’s critics.
From a fan perspective, this is a safe play by K-State. Athletic departments generally don’t just let coaches’ contracts expire — as Weber’s was set to do after the 2018-19 season — they either fire them or give them extensions, and you don’t fire a coach who just made the Elite Eight unless a big scandal comes up. Weber is basically a known quantity at this point: he can recruit Big 12 quality players to Manhattan and coach them up enough that we should never be the dregs of the conference — even in the dreadful season after the roster implosion, K-State finished two games ahead of Oklahoma State, and three games ahead of TCU.
The extension signals that Weber is likely to finish his coaching career at K-State, provided he avoids major scandal and doesn’t crater the program. And as long as he can mostly keep us in (and preferably advancing in) the NCAA Tournament so we’re an attractive job when it’s time to hire his successor, I guess I’m OK with that.
You can read the specifics of the contract extension here.