Report: Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber Will Not Return to Team Next Season

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2012

After a 10-0 start to the season, the Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team seemed destined for great things. What a difference a few months makes, though, as long-time head coach Bruce Weber is now reportedly set to be ousted following the season.

According to Paul Klee of The News-Gazette, Weber, who has been the team's head coach since 2003, will not be retained for next season.

Weber has had an incredible amount of success in his time at Illinois. He led the team to the NCAA tournament six times, including a trip to the finals in 2004-05.

While the Illini were beaten by the North Carolina Tar Heels, their appearance marked the school's best season in history. They went 37-2 and spent a significant amount of time at No. 1 in the polls.

Since then, however, Illinois has been unable to get past the tourney's second round. With a spot in the tournament out of the question this season, Weber has been made the scapegoat. The Illini lost 12 of their final 14 games of the season and bowed out in the first round of the Big Ten tournament against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

In all sports, recent success is what programs strive for, and Weber was unable to achieve that. His first two seasons at Illinois will be remembered by many as he reached the Sweet Sixteen or better on two occasions, but the results have been mediocre since then.

There has been no word regarding whether Weber will coach the team should they be invited to another postseason tournament like the NIT, but he won't be on the sidelines next season.

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