Weber's truth and Thomas' cliches
Illinois Athletics Director Mike Thomas announces the firing of head basketball coach Bruce Weber Friday. (Ben Woloszyn/photo for the Chicago Tribune)
He told the truth about his players and his players continued to tank. So, neither Weber nor his players distinguished themselves.
And you know what else? If Weber had kept it in the locker room, that would’ve been more mollycoddling.
There was no way out for Weber if he missed the NCAA Tournament. He didn’t. He’s done.
But he had to know he was dead earlier when he said what needed to be said and his weak-minded and perhaps backbone-challenged players did nothing about it.
Because for all the blame that Weber deserves, his players ought to be pounded, as well. They seem as incapable of introspection as they were of protecting leads. Bad deal all the way around.
Now there’s going to be a new deal.
Mike Thomas is the new sheriff in town. He wants his own coaches the way most athletic directors do. That doesn’t mean the coaches will be good, just Thomas’.
It’s about winning, Thomas said of his national search for a new basketball coach. It’s about the student-athlete, and it’s about doing it the right way --- it’s about all the clichés, people.
It’s always about the clichés when you’re the AD at a steppingstone school. Illinois is not a destination, and there’s little reason to believe it will be, if Thomas’ football coach is any indication.
I mean, Ohio State hired a rock star, and Thomas hired, um, who again?
Thomas is not going to hire an emperor. The Illini would’ve hired that guy already. Illinois has tried getting the Next Big Thing. That’s more workable. And that’s over in a hurry. See Bill Self for details.
The best that Thomas can do is hire a guy he won’t be forced to fire in, I don’t know, four years because friends of the program wonder aloud what Thomas does for a living.