John Currie’s first coaching search at Kansas State took four days.
Frank Martin became South Carolina’s basketball coach on Tuesday. Bruce Weber was at a Bramlage Coliseum microphone by Saturday afternoon.
The process went so quickly that Currie introduced Weber to the public before the Final Four began, though he considered waiting until Sunday.
“It moved up steadily,” Currie said. “We thought we were focused in last night, and were in a position where we could land the plane, so to speak. We were talking about doing it on Sunday afternoon, but my top priority was shrinking the amount of time from the inevitable moment when we knew this was the coach and the moment this coach would be in front of our student-athletes.
“I promised our student-athletes I would do everything I could to get their coach in front of them just as quickly as possible.”
Currie thinks he delivered.
He said he began the search shortly after Martin left. He flew to Chicago and met with Weber and spent two days in New Orleans, where the nation’s top coaches were in town for the Final Four. Currie said he took a look at several candidates, whom he wouldn’t name.
Several candidates were mentioned during the week, but not Weber until Saturday morning.
With the help of Todd Turner and Collegiate Sports Associated, the consulting firm that helped K-State, Currie kept the search quiet despite speaking with many people. He said Turner had not sent him a bill for his services, but that K-State would reveal the cost.
Currie said Weber jumped to the top of his list quickly. One reason was a chance meeting in Cancun, Mexico, last winter. K-State’s women’s team was playing in a holiday tournament in the same location as Illinois’ men. Currie watched the Illini and said he was impressed — though it wasn’t until he began contacting people across the industry about Weber that he became sold.
“I worked really, really hard trying to find somebody to tell me Bruce Weber can’t get it done or that Bruce Weber is not a good coach or that Bruce Weber has got a problem or some other thing,” Currie said. “To be honest, the further I dug, the better and better and better it got. I simply couldn’t find anything.”
Weber didn’t need much convincing when asked about K-State.
“It was a no-brainer for me,” Weber said.
In the end, both sides got what they wanted out of the coaching search.
“I think it went exceptionally smoothly,” Currie said. “I’ve been involved in major searches before. We’ve hired a lot of great people at K-State and attracted a number of great people to the administrative team. That was a lot of pressure. So was this. Our team did a great job.”