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Alone With My Thoughts - On Coach Weber’s Resignation

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NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Kansas State
He wasn’t everything. But don’t you dare say he was nothing.
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

You knew it was coming, but you didn’t know the right time.

You knew it had to end…and it was going to end soon. Who’s to know when the “right time” is? No one does when it’s not clear-cut.

She was the bestest dog, but she struggled late. You got worn out having to clean up the accidents in the house, and picking her up to put her in the car. She knew she was struggling, too. She wanted to still be your family, but couldn’t quite do it the same way anymore. Didn’t make her intent any less pure.

She screwed up every now and then. And yep, there was some yelling when it happened. There are days when I wished she wasn’t there. It would have been less stressful. Less complicated. But there’s a difference between emotional reaction and genuine disdain.

And when it was time - and suddenly, you knew it was time - you said goodbye. It was suddenly obvious. You weren’t happy about it. You didn’t celebrate the goodbye - you celebrated the moments that made goodbye unfortunate.

You wondered for weeks on end afterward - was that the right decision? Did it need to happen then? How many days might have been left?

Weeks?

Months?

There were better looking pups out there. Ones that were photogenic. Ones that knew tricks. Having adopted ours from a shelter, we literally brought her in off the street. A castaway. There might be “better” dogs, but ours was the right one for us, at the right time.

Goofy-ass damned dog.

You find yourself at an emotional crossroads. Distraught that you had to remove something you’d actually grown fond of, despite the shortcomings and consternation between you. Genuinely sad that it had come to an end; that it needed to come to an end.

But, relieved that it was over. Relieved that she wasn’t struggling. Relieved that you didn’t need to watch her struggle any more.

Never happy. Relief and melancholy, juxtaposed.

Our new pup is fun. Energetic. Sweetest heart. He listens like a brick, but he’s 6 months old. We get upset with him too. End up comparing him to the past. Wonder if he’s going to be as good as her.

Better?

Worse?

Who knows. Time will tell.

But it doesn’t change the fact that our time with our previous dog had run its course, and we needed to say goodbye.

Sigh.

I’m sure I’ll take some heat by drawing an analogue between my wife and I having to put our first dog down and hearing of Bruce Weber’s resignation this morning. Maybe, deservedly so. As I tried to find a way to accurately describe how I feel about his resignation, it’s the nearest analogue I could think of.

Coach Weber’s time at K-State came with some of the best of times. Two Big 12 regular season championships. An appearance in the Elite 8. Four NBA players, including three full-contract, and two drafted players. Certainly other accolades as well. You’re a damned liar if you say there weren’t times over the past 10 years you didn’t jump out of your seat with excitement and enthusiasm over a Wildcat basketball game.

It also clearly came with some of the worst of times. He was struggling as a coach to find the same success over the past three years that he had presided over previously, that much was clear. But it doesn’t erase that success, and it shouldn’t ever.

I was going to offer a much different thought piece after the loss to West Virginia in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday: one that asked questions, circling around “When is the right time?” Anyone that has seen Weber’s post-game presser has to come away that this is an agonizing decision for him, for K-State Athletics, for us as fans. While agonizing, it doesn’t mean it was the wrong one.

Commentary from some former players is what drove me to writing anything at all. And this piece, in no small part, is in response to some of those assertions.

I won’t deny – there are some absolute douche-canoes out there in our fan base that have hated Weber since day one, and have figuratively called for his head on a pike over the past three years. I hope they’re happy. I hope they also enjoy those two conference championships that we were able to attain under the guidance of a “terrible coach”. I will also freely admit that I am one of those people that questioned the culture and “fire” within the program, especially recently.

I also hope that people looking in from the outside, as well as looking around from within, realize there are a great number of fans and supporters of K-State Basketball that didn’t hate Coach Weber. In fact, we rather liked him. We appreciate what he was able to do, despite what we thought he wasn’t especially great at. And for many of us, we highly appreciated the fact that he was able to do those things without underhanded tactics. Without flouting or skirting the rules. Without openly cheating. Weber did them the “right way”. There is no question our program has been run squeaky clean the last 10 years. We should all be proud of that.

However, there came a time – and the decision was made that the right time was now – that it needed to come to an end. That the struggling wasn’t bearable to watch any more. That we, as fans, grew weary of having our hearts ripped out day-in and day-out because the team just couldn’t quite get there.

I won’t celebrate that Coach Weber won’t be the basketball coach at K-State in the future. But I will celebrate the good times we had with him at the helm, while feeling that same juxtaposition of relief and melancholy that we needed to move on. He might not be the coach at K-State any more, but for 10 years, he was the right coach for us, at the right time.

I, personally, wish Coach the best of luck in the future. Go get 500, Coach. Your career has countlessly impacted young men’s lives for the better. You deserve it.