Weber rumors a false alarm?
Day 16 of Joe Castiglione’s coaching search to replace Jeff Capel was another wild one as the rumor mill was hotter than ever, and it ended late last night with a firestorm of reports that Illinois’ Bruce Weber could be the next head coach at the University of Oklahoma.
As of midnight, two Oklahoma reporters were hinting that Weber could be the guy. They include KWTV Channel 9′s Dean Blevins and John Moss from KTUL Channel 8 in Tulsa. Also, Chicago television sportscaster Dan Roan reported that he’s heard Weber and Castiglione were in talks about the position.
Here is Blevins’ tweet:
DeanBlevins I was told ystrdy morn OU was hoping/planning 4 Fri press conf 2 name new coach. After striking out w/Buzz, appears 2 b BruceWeber, Illinois
Multiple reports that Bruce Weber will be named OU Head Basketball coach as early as Friday. If true, Joe C. strikes again!
However, Weber quickly responded and denied the reports to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Illinois coach Bruce Weber responded to reports that he is interested in the vacant job at Oklahoma by saying late Wednesday night that there is “no real story.”
Weber responded to a text message after The Norman Transcript published an article that said Weber and Oklahoma appeared to have a mutual interest.
“Received interest calls from a few schools the last couple weeks,” he wrote. “Other than that no real story or stories! Sorry!”
ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb, who claimed on twitter on Tuesday that he had a source who would allow him to break the story on OU’s next coach, also said the rumors were false this morning on twitter.
FYI I have been told there is no truth to the Bruce Webber to OU rumors-somehow Joe C is way underground which creates many fictional names
So was this a false alarm or is there some smoke here? Honestly, it appears there may still be some smoke as just about everyone in the Oklahoma media seemed to have sources indicating Oklahoma and Weber had discussions about the job (see below for more details).
Who is Bruce Weber? He has had his Illini in the NCAA Tournament in six of his eight seasons in Champaign, including a title game appearance and loss to North Carolina in 2005. He also took Southern Illinois to the NCAA tournament twice, including a Sweet 16 run, prior to landing in Illinois.
However, Illinois went 20-14 and were a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament where they were eliminated by Kansas in the second round in Tulsa, and Weber’s seat in Champaign is starting to get hot as his teams were just 104-70 overall and 44-44 in Big 10 play over the past five seasons overall with no advancement past the second round.
It should also be noted that his early success at Illinois, which again included a 37-2 record and run to the national title game 2005, was done with players recruited by Bill Self. Weber has also been widely criticized among the Illini fans for failing to land several key recruits from the Chicago area during his tenure. However, his current recruiting class is ranked 11th nationally be ESPN.
Below are more links and notes from Wednesday on OU’s coaching search.
* First and foremost, the buzz on Marquette’s Buzz Williams is officially dead as the Texas native signed a contract extension on Wednesday … Read
* The Tulsa World’s Guerin Emig wrote about mutual interest between Illinois coach Bruce Weber and Oklahoma … Read
* The Norman Transcript’s reports that “a well-placed college basketball source” says Weber has emerged as a candidate and there is mutual interest … Read
* The Oklahoman also has an article on Weber and OU, which quotes a Chicago sportscaster Dan Roan stating the word is out that Weber and OU are talking … Read
* OUHoops.com heard a new name from a source not connected with OU that Castiglione may take a look at the NBA for a new coach, most notably Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jim Cleamons. This seems like a longshot, but it is an interesting idea … Read
* Emig’s farewell to Buzz Williams also mentions interest in Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall, whose Shockers will play for the NIT championship Thursday night, as being someone a source tells him OU is interested in … Read
* The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram’s Mike Jones also mentions Marshall as a guy who might be on Oklahoma’s radar … Read
* Click here to read an article about Marshall and Wichita State playing for the NIT title.
* One of the other big stories of the day was news that UNLV’s Lon Kruger declined an interview with Oklahoma. The reporter from the Las Vegas Sun who broke the story also claimed on twitter that Kruger told him this news personally … Read
* The Oklahoman’s Mike Baldwin tells us why Joe Castiglione has a difficult task at hand the hiring process this time around … Read
* Earlier Wednesday, Emig and the Tulsa World wrote about the potential search firm Joe Castiglione is using to help assist him with the search … Read