ILLINOIS' WEBER IS 2005 AWARD WINNER

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) Illinois' Bruce Weber has been named winner of the 2005 Henry Iba Award, presented annually by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association to the national college basketball coach of the year

The USBWA will present the Iba Award to Weber at a breakfast during the NCAA Final Four weekend on Friday, April 1 at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis. At that time, the USBWA will also present the Oscar Robertson Trophy to the National Player of the Year.

Weber is the first Illinois coach to receive the award since the USBWA began selecting a coach of the year in 1959. He is the first Big Ten coach to win the award since 1998, when Michigan State's Tom Izzo was honored as the third straight Big Ten coach to be named national coach of the year by the USBWA. Purdue's Gene Keady and Minnesota's Clem Haskins were honored by the USBWA in 1996 and '97, respectively.

In his second season in Champaign, Weber has guided the Illini to a school-record 32 wins against just one loss and both the Big Ten Conference regular-season and tournament championships. Illinois enters the NCAA Tournament this week as a No. 1 seed and Weber is now the first coach in the 100-year history of Big Ten basketball to win consecutive outright conference titles in each of his first two seasons.

Also, this is first time since 1952 and just the third time in school history that the Illini have won back-to-back outright Big Ten titles.

The Henry Iba Award is named for the legendary Oklahoma A&M, Oklahoma State and U.S. Olympic coach. Iba won 655 games at OSU, including back-to-back national titles in 1945 and '46. He also coached the United States to a pair of Olympic gold medals. Iba was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1969 and retired from coaching in 1970. He passed away on Jan. 15, 1993.


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