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CARBONDALE — SIU denied a report that it had offered former men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber the chance to come back as head coach Tuesday.

The Southern Illinoisan reported Tuesday that Weber, the coach of the Salukis from 1998-2003 who was fired from Illinois earlier this month after nine seasons, was offered the job and is at the top of the search for Chris Lowery’s successor, citing an anonymous source close to the search.

The source requested anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the search. Tom Weber, SIU’s sports information director, no relation to Bruce, said Tuesday the school’s search is ongoing and that it hasn’t offered the job to Weber or anyone else, for that matter.

Weber, 55, did not return a message left for him Tuesday on his cell phone.

One of the most beloved head coaches in program history, Weber took the Salukis to two NCAA tournaments and 103 wins between 1998-2003 and has already spoken with the school in some way, according to the source. SIU is awaiting his decision before moving onto the next candidate.

If Weber says no, the Salukis’ search committee has as many as eight candidates, mostly associate head coaches at Division I programs, that it has already interviewed, some more than once.

Tuesday, ESPNChicago.com reported SIU wants Weber back and has, indeed, offered the former Fighting Illini coach the job, citing a source familiar with the situation.

Weber told ESPN.com Tuesday that nothing has happened on the job front and that he is just trying to clear his head and plot his future.

Contact Hefferman at todd.hefferman@thesouthern.com or (618) 351-5087.

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