Kansas State athletic director Laird Veatch gave Bruce Weber a vote of confidence on Monday.
In case there was any remaining question about Weber’s future as K-State’s basketball coach, Veatch erased all doubt by telling the Manhattan Mercury that Weber will return for his sixth season.
“We took a step forward this year and we look forward to making another step forward next year,” Veatch told the newspaper.
Weber guided K-State to a 21-14 record and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament this season. He was briefly on the hot seat when the team struggled through a 2-8 stretch after a 15-4 start, but the Wildcats closed with victories over TCU, Texas Tech and Baylor to reach the postseason. Then they defeated Wake Forest in the First Four.
Their season ended with a loss to Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Weber’s job seemed secure at that time, with Weber already turning his focus to next season. He has spent the past week recruiting.
Veatch, who has served as K-State’s interim athletic director since John Currie’s departure to Tennessee, has now publicly backed Weber, saying he also has the support of university president Richard Myers.
“We had good conversations and we are together on this being the right path forward,” Veatch told the Mercury.
Weber has averaged 20 victories since arriving in Manhattan five years ago, going 100-68. His highlights include three trips to the NCAA Tournament and a shared Big 12 championship in 2013. But the Wildcats missed the postseason in back-to-back seasons, finishing 15-17 in 2015 and 17-16 in 2016.
He has two years remaining on a contract that is due to pay him $2.15 million next season. His buyout is $2.5 million. Weber initially signed a five-year deal with K-State, and it was twice extended by a single year.
Weber sounded optimistic about the future following the NCAA Tournament.
“I would love to get the program where we are not only getting to the NCAA Tournament, but moving forward,” he said two weeks ago. “We need a few more players and a commitment to it, but I can’t feel more proud about being part of the program.”