The Sad Goodbye For Charlie Weis
If you are a Charlie Weis detractor, you can be happy now. He's gone. He won't be back next year. No midnight reprieve like he received last december. The Fighting Irish stand 6-4 at this juncture and could very well end the season at 6-6. That, frankly, is unacceptable in year 5 of the Weis regime. A record of 7-5 or even 8-4 would be as well.
9-3 was believed to be the minimum requirement this season. As well as a BCS bowl appearance, or the very least, a Gator bowl bid. But with losses to Navy(2 out of 3 years), Pitt, an obviously down USC quad and possibly most damning, a loss against a terrible Michigan team, there is no way Charlie is coming back next year.
In fact, I believe that he has already been informed of this, and due to his love for the university, he is now towing the company line and will finish out the season. He will not try to sabotage the program. He will try to keep the recruiting class together. He may even resign after the Stanford game.
Unlike Willingham and Davie, Weis loves Notre Dame. He gets Notre Dame. He is an alum. His values as a man reflect the values of the University. Faith, integrity, love, redemption, academics and morality.
Unfortunately, he is just not a very good head football coach. I have defended Weis from the very beginning. I was excited about his hiring, his offense. I kept up with the state of the program, with recruiting, even his foundations.
So you can imagine how I felt when I finally came to this realization after the Navy loss. I wasn't angry. I wasn't excited about the prospect of a new coach. I was saddened. I thought about him visiting that child stricken with brain cancer in his first year and running his play 'pass right'. I thought about him visiting the lone survivor of that terrible mining accident in his second year. I thought about him standing on the sidelines all of last year on crutches. In the rain or snow. With two blown out knees and in intense pain. These are things that I will always remember.
I thought about alot of things. And came to a conclusion. I will never become emotionally attatched to a coach again. This is the third time that a coach I believed in has/will be let go. The first two being Jimmy Johnson from the dallas cowboys and Bob Knight from Indiana University. These two were obviously big winners. But Weis won my heart with what he did off the field rather than what I thought would eventually come ON the field.
Why did he fail? A myriad of reasons that could be rehashed ad nauseum. 3 different defensive coordinators in 4 seasons. Switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and back again. Not having any bread and butter via the run or pass that the offense could hang it's hat on. Recruiting misses on the D and O-line. Poor play calling.
But laziness was NOT one of them. No coach before Weis has ever worked harder than Charlie did these last 5 years. Whether in the film room or on the recruiting trail, Charlie was relentless. The same can not be said about the two coaches prior to him.
So what happens next? Like Charlie said in his most recent press conference, it's full steam ahead. He will coach the remaining two games and recruit hard for the university. Fortunately, most of the 18 committed players to ND are committed to the university rather than to Weis. I don't think, in this critical year for charlie, that this is any coincidence.
Some will point to his buyout but AD Swarbrick has already stated that money will not be an issue. Besides, reports indicate that the money to buy him out will be donated privately. Much like a certain doctor in southern Indiana donated the money to buy out Kelvin Sampson and Hire Tom Crean for Indiana University.
So then who is next? Your guess is as good as mine. Rumors are flying around faster than one can keep track of.
People are already coming out of the woodwork with 'sources' claiming one of the above has the inside track. Personally, I would be happy with either Patterson or Stoops. Kelly would be okay too, but he would need to recruit a differrent type of player in both and athletic and academic sense at Notre Dame than he currently recruits at cincinnatti. And who knows, maybe it will be someone not on anybody's 'list'.
But one is for sure. Jack Swarbrick had better get it right. He might not get another chance.
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