This was probably the last chance for Charlie Weis to succeed as a head coach in College Football. Kansas never really improved during his two and something years on the job, and firing him was met with approval across the board, which says something about how bad things have been.
All the credit he had from his five seasons on the New England Patriots as an offensive coordinator (did plenty of other jobs in the 1990’s) has been squandered. At some point, reputation from the past disappears, and what have you done for me lately takes a more important place in the conversation.
So what has Weis done? An overall 35-27 record with Notre Dame. But in 2005 and 2006 he played with players he mostly didn’t recruit, as the Fighting Irish had an overall 19-6 record, losing in two consecutive BCS bowls. Instead of being the one to resurrect the program into national prominence and recruiting one of the best classes in the nation, Weis crashed in 2007 with a 3-9 season, followed by 7-6 and 6-6, missing a bowl game again. He was fired at the end of the 2009 season.
One year in the NFL brought him his mojo back, doing a great job as the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, making the playoffs and getting someone like Matt Cassel make it to the Pro Bowl. Weis always had his heart set out on the college game, and left to be the offensive coordinator for Florida, where he did a pretty disappointing job, as
Kansas? It was never going to be an easy job. The Jayhawks don’t have much of a football reputation. They haven’t won a conference title since 1968 and have finished a season in the rankings just once since 1996. It was supposed to be a rebuilding job and set up for the future, but that future never arrived.
Under Weis, Kansas went 6-22, including 1-11 in his first season and 3-9 in 2013, with a 1-17 record in the Big 12. A 23-0 loss to Texas and a 41-3 defeat against Duke meant it was the end for him in Lawrence. He never got special recruits, he never actually made the team look better. Winning against SE Missouri State and Central Michigan doesn’t make the 2-2 record fool anyone.
Sheahon Zenger didn’t sugarcoat his message after announcing that Weis was fired. There was no need to. Everyone knew he did an awful job.
I normally do not favor changing coaches mid-season. But I believe we have talented coaches and players in this program, and I think this decision gives our players the best chance to begin making progress right away. I appreciate what Coach Weis did with several facets of our football program. But we have not made the on-the-field progress we believe we should. I believe new leadership gives our coaches and players the best chance to make a fresh start.
Weis will land another job, but how low is he willing to go? Maybe College Football isn’t for him. Maybe being a head coach isn’t for him. There’s nothing wrong with being an excellent coordinator in the pros. Maybe Weis wants something else, but the last decade has taught us that being a head coach in College Football is a bit of a stretch for him.