Weber Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year

ATLANTA (March 24, 2005) – Illinois's Bruce Weber has been named the Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year presented by Coca-Cola, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. The Naismith Award, presented annually to the men's and women's college basketball coaches of the year, is the most prestigious national award in college basketball. Weber will be recognized at the Naismith Awards Banquet on April 8 in Atlanta.

Weber was selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, a collection of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, based on his coaching performance this season. The results were certified by Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP.

"Coach Weber has done an outstanding job this season and throughout his career," said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. "He has dedicated his life to coaching and is truly deserving of this honor. We are pleased to recognize his accomplishments as this year's Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year presented by Coca-Cola."

In just his second season as head coach, Weber earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors after leading Illinois to its second consecutive Big Ten championship and second Big Ten Tournament championship in three years. The Illini earned the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and set the school record for wins (32), finishing the regular season 15-1 in the Big Ten and 32-1 overall.

"As the leader of one the country's hottest teams, Coach Weber has done an outstanding job of fueling the excitement of NCAA basketball," said Valerie Manis, senior marketing manager, NCAA, Coca-Cola North America. "As an official NCAA Corporate Champion, Coca-Cola congratulates Coach Weber and wishes him continued success in the NCAA Tournament."

Weber became the 16th men's head basketball coach in Illinois history in April of 2003 and, in his first season, led the Fighting Illini to their first outright Big Ten title in 52 years. Prior to taking the head job at Illinois, Weber spent five seasons as head coach at Southern Illinois University, where he compiled a 103-54 record, led the Salukis to Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) championships in 2002 and 2003, and earned 2003 MVC Coach of the Year honors.

Weber also spent 18 years as an assistant at Purdue and one season as an assistant at Western Kentucky. During his 25-year collegiate coaching career, Weber also served as an assistant coach for the USA Team at the World University Games in 1989 and head coach for the Pan American team trials in 1991.

This year's Naismith Award is the 19th given to recognize the men's college coach of the year. Last year's recipient was St. Joe's Phil Martelli. For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.


Illini Inquirer Top Stories