Nate’s Notes: If Weber is done, don’t celebrate

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With K-State down over 15 points, head coach Bruce Weber barks out plays to the team. The Wildcats defeated the Mountaineers 71-69 in Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 9, 2019. (Archive photo by Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State men’s basketball season is most likely over after the play-in game of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri. The Wildcats fell apart late in a 73-67 loss to West Virginia Wednesday night.

With a final record below .500, the Wildcats are certainly not headed to the NCAA Tournament and are not likely to hear their name called for the NIT Tournament.

The Wildcats’ third-straight losing season might also be the end for head coach Bruce Weber, something noted by one fan in Kansas City’s T-Mobile Center with a “Bye-Bye Bruce” sign.

Reportedly, assistant coach Shane Southwell tried to get the fan to put the sign away at halftime.

This sign proved polarizing among K-State fans on Twitter, with some folks deciding to defend the sign-bearer and their celebration of what could be the end of Weber’s time in Manhattan.

Fans who are publicly happy to see Weber go are wrong. They’re a bad representation of K-State fans. It might be time for both parties to move on, but it isn’t time for a party.

That’s not to say it isn’t time for a new head coach. I’ve been critical of Weber — and defensive of him — over the years, and I think that it is probably time for Weber and the program to part ways.

It’s possible to have a nuanced opinion on Weber’s tenure at K-State and his departure: in fact, it’s correct.

Weber is the most successful coach K-State has had since Jack Hartman retired in 1986. Hartman went to four Elite Eights in seven tournament appearances and won three regular-season conference titles across 16 seasons.

Hartman’s successor Lon Kruger had an Elite Eight but no conference titles. Dana Altman, Tom Asbury and Jim Wooldridge were not good. Bob Huggins was only in Manhattan for a season, and Frank Martin had an Elite Eight but no conference titles.

Weber was in the middle of his second rebuild of the program when he entered into one of the worst stretches in school history, but K-State fans will always have Barry Brown’s layup through the trees to beat Kentucky in Atlanta, Georgia.

You will always have Rodney McGruder at the buzzer in Waco, Texas, and Cartier Diarra’s windmill dunk against Kansas.

Bramlage Coliseum will boast more Big 12 Championship banners since 2011 than anyone but Kansas and as many in total as anyone but Kansas and Texas since the founding of the league. All of them belong to Weber.

None of that matters in the eyes of a portion of the K-State fanbase because some people decided that they didn’t like Weber from day one — because he wasn’t Martin and because of how Martin departed. Some fans never gave him a chance.

If the loss in Kansas City was Weber’s last game, then he went out in the same way K-State lost a lot of games over the past couple of years. It was an agonizingly close loss where K-State couldn’t make a play at the end of the game. The Wildcats lost six straight to fall all the way off the NCAA bubble.

Maybe that’s on the coach, but it’s not an excuse for Twitter grave-dancing. It makes everyone associated with this school look bad.

Nathan Enserro is the Collegian’s assistant sports editor and a graduate student in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, a graduate student from Olathe, Kansas, working on a Masters in Mass Communication. I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. This is my fourth year covering K-State sports for the Collegian.