Bob Weltlich as head coach at Texas (1982–88)
|Born||November 5, 1944|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
Weltlich coached 22 seasons with a career record of 300-335 and three trips to the NCAA tournament. He was head coach at South Alabama, Florida International, Texas, and Mississippi and one of only 19 coaches to lead three different teams to the NCAA Tournament.
Weltlich got his degree in education from Ohio State in 1967 and was set to teach. But he met Army coach Bob Knight in Orrville, Ohio. Knight hired him as an assistant at Army, then took him to Indiana, where in 1976 he helped coach a 32-0 team to the NCAA title.
He left Indiana to become the head coach at Mississippi. Bob Weltlich manned the Rebel sidelines for six years (1977–1982) and directed Ole Miss to an SEC Tournament title and the program’s postseason debut in 1981. One episode of his aggressive coaching style, foreshadowing criticism levied against him later in his career, followed the team splitting two games in Illinois in 1979; after an all-night marathon bus/plane/bus trip that arrived back on campus on Christmas Day, Weltlich had the team dress for a tape session and practice. (This is described from player Sean Tuohy's point of view in both Michael Lewis' 2006 book The Blind Side, pp. 55–56; and Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy's own 2010 book "In a Heartbeat, Sharing The Power of Cheerful Giving", p. 48,) Upon setting up the projector to watch film (at 10 am on Christmas Day), Weltlich leaned into Tuohy's ear and said, "Hey Twelve, Merry Fucking Christmas."
In 1982, second-year Texas Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds hired Weltlich from the University of Mississippi to serve as the next Texas men's basketball head coach. Nicknamed "Kaiser Bob" by Longhorn fans for his harshly disciplinarian approach, Weltlich was almost immediately faced with such a manpower shortage from the departures — both voluntary and involuntary — of so many Texas players that he famously had to press Texas male cheerleader Lance Watson into service during the Longhorns' abysmal 6-22 season of 1982-83.
Weltlich's next three teams posted yearly improvements in overall records, with the 1985-86 team — which finished with a 19-12 mark and a share of the SWC Championship — representing the zenith of his tenure at Texas. After his teams finished 14-17 and 16-13 in the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons, respectively, Weltlich was dismissed with two years remaining on his contract.
Weltlich compiled a 77-98 record during six seasons as the head coach at Texas. None of his six teams managed an appearance in the NCAA Tournament; only the 1985-86 team participated in postseason competition, losing 71-65 to Ohio State in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.
The 17-year coaching veteran was named the interim coach at South Alabama on October 27, 1997 following Bill Musselman's sudden resignation on October 7, 1997. Weltlich coached the Jags from 1997 to 2002 and compiled a record of 81-65 and three 20-win seasons.
He resigned from South Alabama after the 2002 season, but he and his family remained in Fairhope, Alabama, where he is a middle school teacher, trying to complete the 10 years of service he needs to qualify for retirement from the state of Alabama.
In 2004, Weltlich's novel, Crooked Zebra, was released. It tells the story of a college basketball referee who begins to affect outcomes of games based on his gambling habits.
- Potter, Jerry (2005-01-25). "Ex-coach Weltlich gets last word on referees with novel approach". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- "Rebels Face Road Challenge at South Alabama Saturday". OleMissSports.com. 2006-12-14. Retrieved 2007-03-15.[dead link]
- "Texas basketball from A to Z," Austin American-Statesman
- Rosner, Mark (2005-11-15). "How the Longhorns Got Hot" (PDF). Austin-American Statesman. Retrieved 2007-03-15.[dead link]
- 1982 USA Basketball
- "2004-05 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Guide" (PDF). big12sports.com. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "Timeline: A history of Texas basketball," Austin American-Statesman
- "Tribute to a Legend". Knight880.com. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- "Florida International Golden Panthers in the NCAA Tournament". MidMajority.com. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- "Weltlich Hired". New York Times. 1997-10-28. Retrieved 2007-03-15.