K-State coach Weber agrees to 2-year contract extension

Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber encourages his team during first half of an NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, March 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber went from the hot seat to the NCAA Tournament last season.

That was enough to earn him two more years on the job.

Weber agreed to a contract extension Tuesday that could keep him with the Wildcats through the 2020-21 season, the first major personnel decision made by new Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor.

Weber had two years left on an extension he signed in April 2013, and the terms of those two years remain unchanged. That means he is due $2.15 million this season and $2.25 million next season, and the two extension years will pay him $2.35 million and $2.45 million.

The final two years of the agreement now include a reduced buyout provision.

”I have had the opportunity to observe our men’s basketball program and visit with Bruce on multiple occasions since I became athletics director,” Taylor said. ”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.”

Taylor was hired to replace John Currie in April, shortly after the basketball season came to an end. But he said watching Weber’s work from afar, combined with conversations he had with the team over the summer, convinced him that the program was in good hands.

”My goal is to provide the support and resources for all our teams to find success and have the opportunity to win championships,” Taylor said. ”We have won a Big 12 championship under his leadership and are confident about the state of the program and the potential of this year’s team.”

The 60-year-old Weber is 413-223 in 19 seasons as a head coach, beginning at Southern Illinois and continuing through Illinois and Kansas State. He’s taken 11 teams to the NCAA Tournament, including three of his five at Kansas State – never escaping the first round with the Wildcats.

Weber was a largely unpopular hire when he was chosen to succeed Frank Martin. He had just been fired after a mediocre run at Illinois, and many Kansas State fans feared the program would return to the bottom of the Big 12 after finally reaching relevance under Martin and his predecessor, Bob Huggins.

Weber assuaged many of those fears by going 27-8 and claiming a share of the Big 12 title in his first season. He also won 20 games in Year 2, again taking the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament.

But the Wildcats backpedaled to 15-17 the following season, and myriad of defections and personnel issues forced Weber to gut his roster. The Wildcats went 17-16 two years ago, and the call for change had reached a crescendo while Weber tried to quietly rebuild the program.

To some extent, he succeeded last season by taking the Wildcats back to the NCAA Tournament, and hopes are high that three returning starters can build on that success this season.

”Longevity is at the core of building a successful program,” Weber said, ”and this commitment from the administration ensures that we have everything necessary to build on what we have already accomplished these last five seasons. We have had a great summer in the gym and I’m excited about current players and where they are taking us a program in the coming years.”