The football team had most of its key pieces coming back from a team that went to the Cotton Bowl, but the basketball program lost a couple of important seniors and was under the direction of a new coach who had been recently fired by Illinois.
The reception to Weber was so lukewarm that some fans even organized a protest outside of Bramlage Coliseum the day he was introduced, and the most cynical of fans still believe that his intro was made during Final Four weekend so that it wouldn't receive much attention.
But Weber managed to win over his players, even a couple of them who were trying to decide whether to transfer. And then he slowly got them to play his style, and the results have been impressive: a nonconference win over Florida, wins over Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Baylor during the Big 12 meat-grinder, and now a share of the conference championship.
"They deserve it,'' said Kansas coach Bill Self, who's led the Jayhawks to at least a share of nine straight. "They had a great year, and they won some big games away from home, too.''
The Big 12 trophy was only the start of the rewards.
On Monday, Weber was a near-unanimous choice for AP's Big 12 coach of the year, Rodney McGruder was first-team all-league and fellow guard Angel Rodriguez made the second team.
"There's only like, a dozen or so schools in the country in the last so many years in major power conferences that won football and basketball in the same year,'' Weber said. "It's a rare instance, you know? And it's great for K-State and the university.''
The only other teams in Division I this year to have accomplished the feat are Louisville in the Big East and Arkansas State in the Sun Belt, and the combined 36 wins between football and men's basketball is trumped only by the Cardinals' 37 wins in the two sports.
So it's little surprise that Schulz, the Kansas State president, has been spending about as much time talking about sports as academics lately, no matter where he's traveling.
"I'm enjoying every minute of it,'' he said. "We all like to think when you're winning and everything is going well, it'll be that way forever, but everyone has down years. I say, 'Hey, let's enjoy the ride right now, and take a little pride in it.' I take great pride in it.''