KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If this is Bruce Weber’s last game as head coach at Kansas State, he made it clear he’s proud of his time leading the Wildcats.
Kansas State lost to West Virginia, 73-67, in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday night. After being 14-11 at one point, the Wildcats lost their last six games of the season. There may be an NIT or CBI postseason berth in the Wildcats’ future, despite being three games under-.500.
But if this was it, Weber is ready. And, at times, it choked him up.
“Whatever happens in the future happens,” Weber said. “Kansas State is a great place and has great people. I love coaching here. I know I’m old and I have gray hair, but they’ll tell you I’ve still got some spunk. I’ve kicked Mark’s (Smith) ass a bunch of times and that dude’s a bull. We’ll see what happens.”
Weber fought back tears at one point looking back on his career, both overall and at Kansas State. While the Wildcats have had three straight losing seasons, they have also reached the NCAA Tournament six times under Weber, which included an Elite Eight appearance in 2017-18.
During that time, the Wildcats won the Big 12 regular-season title twice — in 2013, his first year, and in 2019.
“It’s funny some of you asked about the tradition and history and I looked at that banner and it was a long time they hadn’t won a Big 12 title,’ Weber said. “We won in 2013. The sad and funny part is I didn’t get much credit for that because it wasn’t my guys. But I would tell you that’s the closest group I’ve coached of all my 40-something years of coaching.”
That 2013 team, led by Rodney McGruder and Weber’s current assistant Shane Southwell, won the program’s first regular-season crown since winning the Big 8 in 1977.
But in a ‘what-have-you-done-for-me-lately’ business, Weber understands that there could be change coming after Selection Sunday.
“My faith is very important to me and all along this journey I’m a miracle guy,” Weber said. “I wasn’t a great player. My dad came over on a boat didn’t get a high school degree. He made all of my family teachers and coaches.”
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.