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Southern Illinois fires Chris Lowery; may go for Bruce Weber

Mar 2, 2012, 5:11 PM EST

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Southern Illinois’ wretched start turned into a dismal season, which spelled the end of Chris Lowery’s tenure. Hard to believe given his start in Carbondale.

Lowery was fired Friday, not long after the Salukis completed an 8-23 season, their worst in eight seasons under Lowery. It even included a loss to a D-II school. The news was first reported by CSBSports.com.

Things weren’t always this bad under Lowery.

He won 78 games and two MVC titles in his first three seasons at Southern Illinois, which included NCAA tournament berths each year and climaxed with a spot in the 2007 Sweet 16. But it posted just one winning season since then as recruiting misses piled up and the once-intimidating defense got soft. He ends his career at Southern Illinois 145-116 overall.

He had two years remaining on a seven-year contract.

CBSSports reports if Illinois parts ways with head coach Bruce Weber, Southern Illinois will contact him about re-taking his old job. He coaches the Salukis from 1998-2003.

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