Big 12 Basketball

Bruce Weber Explains How He Told Gene Keady To ‘Hire Him’

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Kansas State

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bruce Weber spent seven minutes talking about his time at Kansas State on Wednesday, a time that came to an end when he resigned on Thursday.

Weber spent a decade at Kansas State, his third-head coaching job. During his press conference after Kansas State lost to West Virginia, 73-67, in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, he talked about his time at K-State, how proud he was about his teams and how his first team — the 2013 Big 12 champions — was his most memorable.

He also talked about his coaching journey, and how he became a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky in 1979 under the legendary Gene Keady.

 

Keady, who had a long tenure at Purdue after WKU, was Weber’s boss for nearly two decades before Weber became a head coach in 1998 at Southern Illinois. Weber learned a lot from Keady but getting his foot in the door wasn’t easy.

Weber had an interview set up with Keady for the job and drove nine hours from his home to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for an interview. Only thing is, when Weber arrived, Keady wasn’t there.

“I never drove nine hours in my life,” Weber said. “I had my leisure suit on. I was ready for this interview and the secretary laughed at me.”

Keady forgot, apparently. So Weber drove back and a few days later he heard back from Keady. At the time, Weber was working as a coach at a Rick Majerus basketball camp. Keady was still interested and asked Weber to drive down again.

Weber said no and, instead, made Keady a counter-offer.

“I said, ‘I’m running camp. I can’t leave again. Either you hire me or (you don’t)’,” Weber said.

He admitted that had he known about Keady’s legendary temper he might not have given Keady the ultimatum. But he did. And, after a pause, Keady said, “Okay, you’re hired.”

Weber spent one season with Keady as his graduate assistant and then went with Keady when he left to take the job at Purdue.

“He never met me,” Weber said. “I was with him 19 years. Unbelievable years. Gave me a chance to get my degree in basketball. It gave me lifetime experiences that I never dreamed of.”

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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