from espn.com: Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick says ‘Best course of action is to keep Weis as coach.’
In his first season as head coach in 2005, Notre Dame extended Charlie Weis’ contract seven games into the season after the Irish almost upset #1 USC at home three weeks earlier. The contract was reported to pay Weis through the 2015 season – coincidentally the same year his son would graduate from Notre Dame – and was in the neighborhood of between 30 and 40 million dollars. At that time in 2005, former Notre Dame Athletic Director Kevin White said,
“In a very short period of time, Charlie has clearly and impressively demonstrated the ability to take the Notre Dame program where we all want it to go. We’re excited that Charlie wanted to extend his commitment to Notre Dame, combined with the University’s interest in furthering its relationship with him. All of us are enthusiastic about what the future holds for Notre Dame football with Charlie Weis as our head coach. We’re confident that we’ve got the best coach in America ensconced at his alma mater for the remainder of his career.”
More recently, former Notre Dame receiver and current Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija said,
“I think [fans and alumni] need to take a deep breath,” he said. “Everything will be fine. It hasn’t been the season they planned for, but it happens.” Asked whether he thinks Weis should remain as the head coach, Samardzija said: “Absolutely, he’s a great coach. He’s got a track record for it. If there’s somebody out there with a better record, who’s a better fit, I’d like to hear who it is.”
Here’s the reality of the situation. In Weis’ four seasons as head coach, the Irish have won 28 games. Only 8 of those wins have come against teams that had a winning record at the end of the season. More recently, the Irish have gone 1-16 against those same teams. Horrid. In fact, Weis has only defeated ONE team in his four year career that ended the season in the Top 25 and that was #24 Penn State in 2006. Weis’ overall record of 28-21 (.571 winning percentage) is worse than both Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie’s records when they were fired after shorter tenures as head coach. To make matters worse, Notre Dame has lost 15 games the past two seasons which is the worst two years in school history.
Joe Theisman heads the list of angry alumni who dislike Weis. Said Theisman about Weis shortly before Notre Dame’s almost 4th quarter collapse against Navy this season,
“To me you can not lose this football game. This becomes the biggest football game in Charlie Weis’ football career. This is one where you are either going to have the stadium excited or the people are going to go out of there shaking their heads, and trust me, you don’t want them going out of there shaking their heads.”
Not helping the situation is Weis’ reputation as one of more arrogant coaches in sports today. Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune had this say about the recruiting of Terrelle Pryor.
“When [Jeanette coach] Ray Reitz told Weis that Pryor might attend a USC quarterbacks camp, he remembers Weis replying: “Why send him there? If he’s with me for one day he’ll be good, two days he’ll be great and three days he’ll be incredible.
Later, unprompted, Weis asked the Jeannette coaches if they wanted to take a picture of his Super Bowl ring. I did it, just to be polite, and then gave [the picture] to one of the kids,” Reitz recalled
But Weis is not a special coach and certainly hasn’t seemed worthy of walking in the footsteps of Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian and Holtz. The sooner Notre Dame admits its colossal mistake and sends Weis back to New Jersey, the better.
What is Weis’ signature win? There isn’t one. His program peaked in 2005, when the Notre Dame Stadium clock hit triple zeros with the Irish leading USC 31-28. But seven seconds remained and Reggie Bush pushed Matt Leinart into the end zone on the next play.
Notre Dame beat a bunch of mediocre teams in 2006, arguably had its worst season in history last year and its five wins in 2008 are against teams that are a combined 12-37
“Here’s the best part,” Reitz recalled. “He says to Terrelle: ‘Call me tomorrow at 6. I’ll be watching where Brady Quinn gets drafted.’ “
Pryor never called. He chose Ohio State.”
To elaborate on his arrogance, Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star had this dagger to throw at ‘Pear Bryant‘ after the 17-0 loss at Boston College this season,
“I cannot deny the courageousness and nobility of Weis embarrassing offensive coordinator Mike Haywood following Notre Dame’s 17-0 loss to Boston College over the weekend. Look, most college coaches of reasonable character and integrity would’ve stripped Haywood of his control of Notre Dame’s offense privately. A low-key, moderate-ego coach would’ve kept the behind-the-scenes maneuvering behind the scenes.
He made it crystal clear to anyone who would listen that he will be responsible for any offensive success the Irish have when they face defensive juggernauts Navy and Syracuse. The undersized Middies are giving up just 27 points per game to Division I opponents. The 2-7 Orangemen are nearly as stingy, surrendering just 37 points per outing. As you can see, a week after battling the nation’s 10th-best defense (Boston College), it’s extremely noble for Weis to alert the media of his plans to fix Notre Dame’s offense.
I’m sure the same media members who championed Weis’ lifetime contract will once again sing his praises when the Irish show remarkable improvement and climb to 7-4 before getting waxed by USC.”
And to think Whitlock was actually giving Weis too much credit for thinking he would beat lowly Syracuse at home.
In 2008, Notre Dame’s schedule ranked as the 107th toughest schedule in Division 1. Weis was able to go 6-6 this season and with almost the same schedule looming in 2009, one would expect the Irish to be better. But how much better do the Irish have to be for Weis to be safe next year? 7 wins?
2009 Notre Dame Football Schedule
Sept. 5 NEVADA
Sept. 12 at Michigan
Sept. 19 MICHIGAN STATE
Sept. 26 at Purdue
Oct. 3 WASHINGTON
Oct. 10 Open Date
Oct. 17 USC
Oct. 24 BOSTON COLLEGE
Oct. 31 vs. Washington State (at San Antonio, Texas)
Nov. 7 NAVY
Nov. 14 at Pittsburgh
Nov. 21 CONNECTICUT
Nov. 28 at Stanford
When looking at the big picture, however, did you really think Notre Dame could afford to buy out Weis for whatever absurd amount of money they would owe him? You can’t just buy out a coach that is worth this much – anywhere from 5 – 20 million, reportedly – without having someone in place. Even in the middle of this horrific season, the administration at Notre Dame still thought this season would be salvageable with 8 wins – 7 at worse. That would have been a big upgrade from last season’s 3 wins and with the top 5 recruiting classes Weis has been pulling in, Notre Dame could still use the ‘we’re heading in the right direction’ line.
It’s tough to begin a search in the middle of December and in the middle of yet another great recruiting class for next season when your last 3 hires have not worked. For Notre Dame to go out and hire ‘the next great coach’ in such a short amount of time given the circumstances of this debacle more than likely could have been disastrous. This way, you now have a year to start thinking about the long-term future. If you’re a Notre Dame fan, do you really want to go hire a coach like Lane Kiffin on the spur of the moment? NO!