Saturday, November 21, 2009

Charlie Weis: Done

As if it weren't already inevitable, Charlie Weis' career as the head coach of Notre Dame likely ended today; and for good reason.

No hate towards UConn, but they were a 4-5 team entering the game, while the Irish were some people's preseason pick to go to the BCS, and maybe even the national championship. At this point, another Holiday Bowl bid seems like a good scenerio for the Irish. This time however, beating down on the Hawaii Warriors won't save Weis' job.

What's even worse is that Weis' career record is 35-26, with a .573 winning percentage; Lower than his predecessors Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie. What also shines a light in Weis' face is that his two best seasons were with a lot of Willingham's recruits.

Jimmy Clausen will probably go pro. If he doesn't he's a bonehead. Weis has done a mediocre to below average job as the head coach of Notre Dame, and you can't blame the school's high academic standards for that, I mean, what about Stanford? They're having a better season than Notre Dame, and they have equal academic standards.

You can argue that Notre Dame has lost it's place as a top recruiting college, being replaced by the SEC, Texas, Penn State, Oklahoma, Miami, Ohio State, USC, and other big name schools, but how do you explain the schools recruitment of Jimmy Clausen, arguably the decades most sought after recruit? Clausen was from Southern California and opted away from USC, Tennessee (where his brother Casey played), and other schools with better professional resumes (post 1993) than Notre Dame.

On top of that, Notre Dame are currently ranked #11 on the Recruitment rankings, sandwiched in between USC and Miami. For 2009 the team finished #21, for 2008 the team finished #2, for 2007 the team finished #8, for 2006 the team finished #8, and for 2005 the team finished #40 despite late recruitment because of coaching change. So to make a long story short, Weis has had a perennial top 10 team in terms of recruit value, and has underperformed with it.

Let's be a little more honest. Weis has done horribly with it.

By comparison, Coach Phil Fulmer, a national championship winning coach for Tennessee who snagged Peyton Manning away from Ole Miss was fired after the 2008 season because he failed to reach a bowl game. The season before Fulmer's team was in the SEC Championship game against eventual national champion LSU, but that wasn't enough. Fulmer had a perennial top 10 recruiting team, but lost his job because he couldn't win a national championship with it.

Weis is not Phil Fulmer. The media, ESPN, and programs around the league have sucked any respectability out of Weis' name as a coach. How could a serious recruit choose Weis over Pete Carroll, Mack Brown Nick Saban, Les Miles, Urban Meyer, or Bob Stoops? Those are just some of the names that Weis has to compete with, and some of those names Notre Dame turned down to hire Weis.

So what now for Notre Dame? I've heard Jon Gruden, Phil Fulmer, Bob Stoops, and even Tony Dungy's names thrown around. Not going to happen. Stoops, maybe, but why? Oklahoma is a better program than Notre Dame, why leave to go to that mess?

Enough with that though. This article is about Charlie Weis, who like every other coach who left Bill Belichick, has failed miserably on his own. To their defense, even Belichick initially failed as a head coach when he strayed away from Bill Parcells after Super Bowl XXV. And that's where Weis will find his next home if he wants one. He'll have enough money to retire I'm sure, he could even transition to a studio somewhere, but if he wants to coach again, he'll have to find a job with Bill or Bill.

On this day, when Weis' firing seems absolute, there should be no Weis apologists. He was given the players, given the recruiting tools, and given the environment to succeed. Truth be told, Weis was always scared, thus, he never succeeded. He was a passionate guy, seemed like a good one too. He loved Notre Dame and was happy to be there. But that doesn't mean he was head coaching material.

He'll always be a champion coordinator though.

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