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Archive for Thursday, May 1, 2003

Illinois turns to SIU coach

Weber agrees to five-year contract worth $2.5 million

May 1, 2003

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— Bruce Weber is back in the Big Ten, moving to Illinois as head basketball coach Wednesday after five successful seasons at Southern Illinois.

He has roots in the conference, having worked 18 years as an assistant to Gene Keady at Purdue.

"Our goal is to win a national championship at the University of Illinois," athletic director Ron Guenther said. "I believe that Bruce Weber is the coach to lead us to the next level."

Guenther praised Weber for his integrity and commitment to academics.

"I am honored and humbled to be named the coach here," Weber said. "It's a tremendous honor."

He replaces Bill Self, who went to Kansas after Roy Williams left for North Carolina.

Weber went 103-54 in five seasons at Southern Illinois.

Last season, the Salukis went 24-7 and won the regular-season Missouri Valley Conference championship. They lost to Missouri in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Weber's best year with SIU came in 2002, when the Salukis went 28-8 and made it to the NCAA tournament's round of 16.

Weber agreed to a five-year contract worth $2.5 million, according to the school. His base salary will be $150,000 per year with another $350,000 compensation from radio and television appearances, camps and other promotional work.

The deal includes a $1 million dollar buyout clause, twice the buyout that was in Self's contract.

Tuesday night, Weber told an Associated Press reporter at his home in Carbondale that he would be joining the Illini.

"Everybody's excited," Illini freshman James Augustine said. "He's just like coach Self. He has a sense of humor. He's ready to work hard. He's enthusiastic, he's hyper sometimes."

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