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Illini basketball coach fired

Bruce bragging rights.jpg
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
The University of Illinois has fired head men's basketball coach Bruce Weber after a 17-15 season that included a 2-12 finish. Weber is shown here on Dec. 22, 2011 during the annual Braggin' Rights game against the University of Missouri.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. with comments from Coach Weber.

This story will be updated. Sean Powers from WILL contributed to this report.

The University of Illinois has fired head basketball coach Bruce Weber, following a 17-15 season that ended with the Illini losing 12 of their last 14 games.

Weber spent nine years at Illinois, leading the Illini to their first Big Ten title in more than 50 years and in 2005, their first appearance in the national title game, where they lost to North Carolina. Weber trails just two Illini coaches in total wins, but his teams had a losing Big Ten record over the last six seasons.

In announcing the firing, athletic director Mike Thomas said Illini fans expect the team to be "a factor" in the Big Ten, and in the "national conscience" each season. But he was still complimentary of the former coach.

"Bruce is everything that you would want in a coach, as it relates to how he represents the University, his student athletes, and our programs, and that makes it that much more difficult," Thomas said.

Weber says he leaves with no regrets.

“I believe this program is on solid footing and will experience the levels of success we enjoyed much of my time here," he said. "I am very proud of what this basketball program has accomplished during my tenure."

Weber will receive a buyout worth about $4 million.  Assistant coach Jerrance Howard will serve an interim coach.


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