Archive for Saturday, December 10, 2011

‘Power surge’: KU introduces ‘old ball coach’ Charlie Weis to fix, fire-up program

Charlie Weis laughs as he sits at a table with Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger and Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little during a news conference in which Weis was announced as the new head football coach Friday, Dec. 9, 2011 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Charlie Weis laughs as he sits at a table with Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger and Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little during a news conference in which Weis was announced as the new head football coach Friday, Dec. 9, 2011 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

December 10, 2011


Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Charlie Weis press conference

Charlie Weis was introduced as Kansas University's new head football coach Friday, Dec. 9, 2011 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Charlie Weis introduced as Kansas head football coach

Charlie Weis said taking the head coaching job at Kansas was the right move for him and his family. Weis addressed the media Friday, Dec. 9, 2011 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Players surprised by, happy with Weis hire

Kansas football players Toben Opurum, Kale Pick and Tanner Hawkinson gave their thoughts on the hiring of Charlie Weis as their new head football coach Friday, Dec. 9, 2011 at the Anderson Family Football Complex. Enlarge video

Friday evening, in Mrkonic Auditorium at Kansas University’s Anderson Family Football Complex, new KU football coach Charlie Weis was asked a variety of questions on topics ranging from his time at Notre Dame and in the huddle with Tom Brady in the NFL, to why he came to Kansas or even had interest in becoming a head coach again.

While nearly all of Weis’ answers both charmed and cut to the chase, one best summed up the spirit with which KU’s 37th head football coach carried himself during his introductory news conference.

With his wife, Maura, and son Charlie Jr., sitting in front of him in the first row, Weis, 55, was asked what area of the KU program would be his top priority.

“The record,” he said. “That’s what I’m here to fix. Now, there’s a lot of things that go into doing that, but who wants to be 2-10? I’m glad that’s where the bar is to start, by the way. They won two too many as far as I’m concerned. It could’ve been a little bit easier.”

And with that, the Charlie Weis Era at Kansas was under way. Part charming, part comedy show, part serious business, Weis spoke for nearly 45 minutes to a packed house that included several current KU players and a throng of media members. While the community surely will learn more about the man who owns four Super Bowl rings and spent five seasons as the head coach at Notre Dame, Weis offered up a sizable chunk of what he’s about during his first appearance as a Jayhawk. The bulk of his message focused on family — both his own and that which he hopes to create within the walls of the KU football complex — but Weis also made sure to emphasize that he understood what was most important around here.

“The University of Kansas this year was 2-10,” he said. “The other major school in the state is Kansas State, who was 10-2. I only have one question to ask: Why? Why is the University of Kansas 2-10, and why is Kansas State 10-2? I don’t have that answer, but that is what I am here for... That is not acceptable in any way, shape or form.”

For at least the next five years, Weis will work to close the gap between KU and Bill Snyder’s program in Manhattan. Doing so figures to come as a result of all the things that made Weis a successful NFL assistant for 16 years, led him to the head coach’s office at Notre Dame from 2005-09 and led to running the offense at the University of Florida this past season.

“I set out to find the best, and I found Charlie Weis,” said KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger during his opening statement. “Coach Weis has tremendous experience and success at the highest levels of the NFL and collegiate football. He has an incredible football mind. He’s disciplined, principled and a tireless worker. We believe he is the right coach at the right time to put Kansas in a position to raise the bar and compete in the Big 12 Conference.”

According to Weis, who opened Friday’s news conference by cracking a joke about the bad left hip he plans to have replaced during the next few weeks, the work will begin immediately.

“The first thing we are going to have to do is put these players through a grueling offseason to change their mentality,” Weis said. “It is not going to be pleasant around here in the spring time. There are not many things I can promise, but I can promise you that. I have already told them ‘to enjoy your holidays and have fun, because when you get to the middle of January, it is not going to be very pleasant.’”

As for Weis’ to-do list, it begins with assembling a coaching staff. Weis said 80-to-90 percent of his staff was in place, but confirmed only one name. Reggie Mitchell, who coached running backs and served as KU’s recruiting coordinator under former coach Turner Gill, will be retained. The rest — along with Weis’ contract, which Zenger said would pay around $2.5 million per year for five years — will be finalized in the next few days. Weis said he planned to talk to all of KU’s current assistants before finalizing his staff, and emphasized that, of all the valuable lessons he learned from his time at Notre Dame, the importance of one’s coaching staff was paramount.

“I think chemistry on the coaching staff is a critical factor and sometimes very much underrated,” he said. “I could give you a conga line of some of the top coaches that want in here, but the question is, are they going to fit? Are they going to work together? Can they work with me? Can they work with each other?”

Weis prides himself on being honest. Several KU players, who met with Weis for the first time earlier in the day and spoke with reporters after the news conference, said their new coach told them to expect brutal honesty at all times. Weis flashed a little of that on Friday, too, when talking about today’s men’s basketball game during which he’ll be introduced to the crowd at halftime.

“I sat in the rafters for the KU-Kansas State basketball game last year, thank you very much,” he said. “I’ve been promised my seats will be better tomorrow.”

Not all of Weis’ honest moments included a comedian’s flare.

“I am not the greatest coach in the world,” he said. “I am just an old ball coach. I was groomed under Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, and the way I figure it is, they are both going to the Hall of Fame, so why should I try and reinvent the wheel? Why not copycat what they do?”

For Zenger, still in his first year as KU’s AD, hiring Weis was not about delivering a shot heard ‘round the world. He called the extra attention KU received during the past couple of days “icing on the cake,” but emphasized that bringing in a man with Weis’ reputation, education and determination showed the world that Kansas had made a commitment to football.

“The chancellor and I didn’t feel like we needed a jump start,” Zenger said. “We believed that we needed a power surge. That power surge is coach Weis.”

If Weis has it his way, that surge will ignite Kansas football for years to come.

“We are going to be here at the University of Kansas until I am done coaching,” Weis said. “And then I am going to be here with my wife and my daughter, while my son tries the trials and tribulations of coaching. I have said this to both the chancellor and Dr. Zenger, utopia is me walking away from here a bunch of years from now, you’re getting rid of one Charlie Weis and hiring another one a lot cheaper.”


frisbeenation 6 years, 5 months ago

"I set out to find the best, but all I found was Charlie Weis."

stevieboy 6 years, 5 months ago

$2.5 million a year for weis? Zenger got played...

ku_tailg8 6 years, 5 months ago

Gill got $2 million. How much did you think we were going to pay for a high profile coach? Certainly not less than Gill. Just get on board with the hire. We have no where to go but up.

ShockHawk10 6 years, 5 months ago

Some of the most negative "fans" come to these boards to post their dislike for the hiring of Charlie Weis. I believe that these same "fans" are the kind of people that can never be happy; eternal pessimists. Weis is a great hire for the University of Kansas. He has an excellent football mind and a toughness that the previous staff did not have. He has national name recognition that will open doors alone. Weis will hire a coaching staff that will rival any KU has seen, and we should all know that the head man is only as good as his staff. In the matter of one day, KU has gone from the laughing stock of the college football landscape to receiving positive national attention. In many eyes, KU does not deserve Charlie Weis. The question has been asked over and over; Why would Charlie Weis accept the KU job? This doesn't matter. What matters is that AD Zenger got his man, and he is on campus and ready to go. Weis nailed the press conference, speaking of a hard nosed approach to change the mind set of the program. This is exactly what we need. I for one couldn't be happier to have Weis leading our program into the future. After the disaster that was the Turner Gill era, this is a grand slam hire! Welcome to Kansas Coach Weis. We (alumni and true fans) couldn't be happier to have you.

stevieboy 6 years, 5 months ago

And some people just drink the kool aid like they are told!..Everyone has an opinion..

ShockHawk10 6 years, 5 months ago

You're right. Everyone is allowed to voice their opinion. No one is "telling" me what my opinion is. If anything, my opinion of the hire is in the minority. Because of the debacle that the last two years were, the majority of the posts on this site have been of the negative variety and justifiably so. Weis has to prove himself on the field just as any hire would; however, on the surface, this is a great hire for KU. Weis already has Dayne Crist visiting KU this weekend for an official visit. His hire is already paying dividends. It's hard to have an optimistic outlook when we were so pathetic on the field over the last two years. However, I see this as a step in the right direction... on the surface that is.

fabian_zimbabwe 6 years, 5 months ago

Agree...the haters are out in force. Nothing will please them. I, for one, welcome Coach Weis.

cheerio 6 years, 5 months ago

Why is Crist a good get? The guy has been a mediocre college QB to date. What benefit is it to the program to get a one year rental QB?

6 years, 5 months ago

Why would Weis come to KU - easy, $2.5M/year.

If you think TG's tenure was bad ask ND fans about Weis. Goes in and wins the the previous coach's players - makes it to two big bowl games only to get beat. Then the next three years playing his players they stink up the joint.

Funny, Gill did the exact opposite at Buffalo and everyone called him a loser. Use the same logic and frankly Weis is a bigger looser.

I hope Weis is able to win - and keep on winning into the future. But I doubt he will. Kansas is not ND nor does it's history even come close to ND.

cheerio 6 years, 5 months ago

Would rather have a QB like Washburn has. Someone that can throw the ball, run and offense, make good decisions and be a great leader.

repaste 6 years, 5 months ago

He is going to commute from Florida? On KU's jet? Or his family commutes here, on our jet? Does not sound like long term.

mesocosm 6 years, 5 months ago

This sent up red flags for me. He also went on and on about how close his family is and how much he loves Florida. Why leave Florida and split up the family then? Something is fishy about this.

Kevin Randell 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree, that it sent red flags up with me as well. But.....and I do say but if he can be here for 2-3 years, build a great staff and turn our program around, then turn the reins over to a guy he has groomed I will be fine with that. Because in the end...if we win ball games, start getting good/great recruits in here, it will be easier to find another good coach. If this works out, and our program gets turned around, this will be a home run move by SZ....and all it cost was the use of a private jet that can be wrote off as a business expense.

Steve Misner 6 years, 5 months ago

Hate to say this, But the "Old Ball" coach needs to prove himself and fast! I fear this is just another coach that will last 3-4 years and be just get us to mediocrity and then be gone. No loyalty to the program, just to the money. I think we would have done better to hire a Jayhawk! (Nolan Cromwell) but it is what it is...good luck Charlie, now show us what you can do here, that you couldn't do at Notre Dame!

BruceWayne 6 years, 5 months ago

"old ball coach"...I thought maybe we had hired Bill Snyder.

Steve Misner 6 years, 5 months ago

Charlie Wiess ain't now Bill Snyder, Bill Snyder will make Charlie Wies look like Charlie Brown.

Ken Miller 6 years, 5 months ago

I think a ket question for the KU AD and above is "do we provide a longer leash for Weis than the previous administration provided for Mangino?" Puke buckets, elbow crawls on 110 degree turf, etc. Will those tools be allowed and tolerated in this regime? And maybe more importantly, if they are used, will they produce results?

topekagnome 6 years, 5 months ago

Rumor has it that Tom Brady will present Charlie Weis to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd today during halftime of KU-OSU.

Kansashawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Like him or not, CW brings cache.

Whether the public knows it, who cares. But it will help players develop beyond KU and it will help recruit. Watch

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 5 months ago

Personally, I'm very excited about getting a new football coach. I truly hope that Charlie Weis will take KU football to a place where everyone will be thrilled. However, $2.4 million per year? That may be the market place price for high profile Division I football coaches, but what does that say about our society? The President of the United States only gets paid $400,000 per year. Do we really think that a football coach deserves six times more than the POTUS? These payrolls are out of control just like the ridiculous bonuses for the Wall Street execs that plunged us into this recession.

Bursting 6 years, 5 months ago

Don't think you can compare coaches to the president buddy. Coaches still have living expenses. Also, think about how much money football brings in to schools. We make some big bowls and the payouts alone can pay for big chunks of that salary.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 5 months ago

Most coaches can't decide to attack another country. Most coaches don't control a multiple trillion dollar budget with hundreds of thousands of employees. Obama had a better 2 years than Gill did too...

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 5 months ago

According to their website, Quail Run Elementary School here in Lawrence has a staff of 59. If you divide 59 into 2.5 million dollars, you get $42,373. I imagine that isn't too far off the average salary for the staff at that school. I guess it's all about the perceived not actual value placed on these things. This is why the U.S. Economy is not dominating the world anymore.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 5 months ago

Ah, yes, a (nother) new coach, new blood, backslapping and smiles, glorious days ahead, the future looks bright and clear (is there an echo in here??).

I am going to mark this day of joyous celebration on my calender and save it back for a year or two . This so I can figure out how many days it takes from hero to bum when the KU football team loses its' first three games to Drake, Liberty University and Loyala of Honolulu. when the giant sucking sound of the KU NBA Basketball Academy commences the howls of retribution and anger at the "loser" running the stillborn football program.

This is a recurring theme on the hill and I anticipate a rerunn of the same.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 5 months ago

These AD's are not good business people. Perhaps think $2.5 million after 5 years of evaluations. Those first 5 years should come in at $150,000 a year plus medical insurance.

These contracts with golden parachutes and extreme wages do not encourage performance.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 5 months ago

Wow, I hate to have to agree with Merril, but he hit the nail on the head. It is very easy to forget that the university is an educational institution, and that sports are an entertainment. Although I am a sports fan, this has little to do with the very basic goal of an educational institution of educating young people to provide for themselves and to benefit the society we live in. The insane and immoral saleries that are paid to athletes and athletic coaches are a great part of the failure of the society we have where these indificuals are valued far above the people who strive to educate and demonstrate to students the skills they will need for life long after the last touchdown or winning basket is tossed. This sort of dysfunctional system does net exist anywhere else in the world. For instance, in Europe all the sports teams are affiliated with communities or national states, like the natioal soccer teams. Their educational institutions exist to provide education, not entertainment. There is a lesson here but I believe that the notion of educational excellence is totally lost on a large segment of the billy-bob population of the United States.

JHawkInLA 6 years, 5 months ago

Over time, few schools can maintain excellence in both football and basketball. Once in awhile, you get lucky and have two great coaches, and it happens for a short time.

Kansas is a basketball school. Football success depends on a coach with the right mix of ability and the humility to know he will always be second to the basketball coach. Not an easy thing to do.

Kansas is similar to UCLA and North Carolina. Basketball is number one, with football, only occasionally being successful. Wisconsin and Florida are the only schools, I can think of, that have had recent success in both sports.

tophawk87 6 years, 5 months ago

You've got two years, Coach, better win fast....

Commenting has been disabled for this item.