As the calendar flipped to March earlier this year, it looked as though Bruce Weber’s time at Kansas State was limited. The Wildcats lost by 30 to an Oklahoma team that would finish ninth in the Big 12 to fall to 6-10 in the Big 12.
A late surge and an NCAA tournament win later, Weber and Kansas State agreed to a two-year contract extension that was announced Tuesday.
“I have had the opportunity to observe our men’s basketball program and visit with Bruce on multiple occasions since I became athletics director,” first-year AD Gene Taylor said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the type of person we have leading our program – Coach Weber is well-regarded throughout college basketball as an outstanding coach and a man who conducts his program with integrity and class.”
When Kansas State decided to stick with Weber after his team won its last two regular season games, beat Baylor in the Big 12 tournament and then Wake Forest in the First Four of the NCAA tournament, it left Weber with just two years remaining on the contract. An extension was pretty much a must to keep negative recruiting against him to a minimum.
Still, the deal doesn’t look to give Weber much in the way of additional security at Kansas State beyond the contract he just extended. His salary for the two years that remained on his deal remain unchanged and his annual raises – $100,000 – also stays static in the additional two years. The difference is that once this new extension kicks in after the 2019 season, Weber’s buyout drops from $2.5 million to $500,000, according to the Kansas City Star.
In essence, the deal doesn’t immediately cost Kansas State any additional money and doesn’t make it prohibitively expensive to move on from Weber if they decide to go in another direction after 2019. The deal would appear to keep Weber in place in Manhattan through 2019 as a new AD will likely be hesitant to fire a coach he extended just months earlier and for a much heftier price. Kansas State returns quite a bit from last year’s team, though replacing Wesley Iwundu and DJ Johnson will be no easy task.
But even after the push to an NCAA tournament bid last year, Kansas State fans are somewhat leery of the program’s future. Weber’s best team was in 2012-13, when the team he inherited from Frank Martin was the league co-champ. Results flatlined some (K-State was a nine-seed in the 2014 tournament) the following three seasons until this year when Kansas State fought its way to a spot in Dayton.