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Official: Charlie Weis to be named next KU football coach Friday

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4:12 p.m. Update:

When Kansas University athletic director hit the road Nov. 30 in search of a football coach to replace Turner Gill, he made it clear that he was looking for the right fit for Kansas and would not be swayed by big-name candidates or the fan base’s desire for KU to land a big fish.

As it turns out, Zenger caught a man who used to work for the Big Tuna.

Charlie Weis, 55, the offensive coordinator at Florida, has agreed to become the 37th head football coach in KU history, KU officials announced around 4 p.m. Thursday. Weis will be introduced officially at a news conference at 5 p.m. Friday.

After breaking into coaching with 11 seasons as a high school coach and college assistant at South Carolina, Weis jumped into the NFL with the New York Giants and coached under Bill Parcells for three seasons from 1990-92. From there, he spent four years with the New England Patriots (1993-96), three years with the New York Jets (1997-99) and returned to the Patriots from 2000-04, where he teamed with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady to win three Super Bowls. All but one of his NFL seasons were spent coaching offense, including holding down the title of offensive coordinator from 1998 on.

Weis is no stranger to college football. From 2005-09 he coached at his alma mater, Notre Dame, leading the Irish to a 35-27 record and three bowl appearances during his five seasons. Although those numbers would signal success at a program such as Kansas, it was not good enough for Notre Dame and Weis was fired following the 2009 season.

That led him back to the NFL, where he previously spent 14 seasons as an assistant coach. Ironically, he returned to pro football with the Kansas City Chiefs. In one year as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, Weis helped lead K.C. to the playoffs.

He bolted for Florida following the 2010 season because of a desire to focus more of his attention on his family. Weis and his wife, Maura, have two children, Charles, 17, and Hannah, 15.

For much more on this story, including reaction from people at KU as well as former and current KU players, stay tuned to KUSports.com throughout the night.

Start here:

http://www2.kusports.com/polls/2011/dec/are-you-happy-hiring-charlie-weis-kus-next-footbal/

4:09 p.m. Update:

It's official. KU has announced that Charlie Weis will be its next football coach.

Weis will be introduced at a news conference on Friday. KU officials said he is not in town yet, nor is KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger.

No further details of Weis' hire have been announced at this time.

Here's more from Weis' bio:

Charlie Weis, a 32-year veteran of coaching, including 16 in the National Football League and five as the head coach at Notre Dame, comes to Florida as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Weis was the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2010. Weis previously enjoyed offensive coordinator stints with New England (2000-04) and the N.Y. Jets (1998-99). He has coached in five Super Bowls, owns four Super Bowl rings and has been a part of teams that have appeared in six AFC Championship Games.

Weis was instrumental in the development of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who entered the league as a sixth-round pick in 2000 and who has since become a two-time Super Bowl MVP and five-time Pro Bowl performer.

During the 2010 NFL season, he helped the Chiefs win an AFC West title, and Kansas City reached 10 wins for the first time since 2005. The team has averaged 359.6 yards of offense through 15 weeks, including a league-leading 167.5 rushing yards per game.

As head coach at Notre Dame, Weis tallied a 35-27 record, including 19 wins in his first two seasons, the most in a two-year period for the Fighting Irish since 1992-93. Under Weis’ guidance, Notre Dame reached BCS Bowl Games in back-to-back seasons, earning a Fiesta Bowl bid in 2005 and a trip to the Sugar Bowl in 2006.

Weis demonstrated his ability to tutor quarterbacks with the Fighting Irish as well, as Brady Quinn (3,919 yards in 2005) and Jimmy Clausen (3,722 yards in 2009) put up the two most prolific passing seasons in Notre Dame history. Wide receiver Golden Tate also established eye-popping numbers under Weis, setting a Notre Dame record with 2,707 career receiving yards and taking home the 2009 Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in the country. Tate also set single-season school records in 2009 with 93 receptions and 1,496 yards and a school record-tying 15 touchdown grabs.

During Weis’ five-year stay with the Patriots from 2000-04, the club won three Super Bowls in a four-year span, only the second team in NFL history to accomplish the feat. New England was 53-27 (.663) during Weis’ five-year tenure and had a 9-0 playoff record.

Over Tom Brady’s first four seasons as a starter in the NFL (2001-04), he ranked fourth in the NFL with 97 passing touchdowns and earned Super Bowl MVP honors in two of New England’s three championship victories, while wide receiver Deion Branch earned the other. The Patriots produced two straight 14-2 seasons in 2003-04, each capped by winning the Super Bowl, and New England rushed for 2,134 yards in 2004, the team’s highest total since 1985.

In 2001, Weis’ second season as New England’s offensive coordinator, he added the responsibility of quarterbacks coach after the death of Dick Rehbein in August of that year. Weis filled both roles for New England in both the 2001 and 2002 seasons. During the second game of the 2001 season, starter Drew Bledsoe was injured, and Brady stepped in to help the team achieve its first Super Bowl championship.

From 1997-99, the Trenton, N.J., native spent three seasons on staff with the N.Y. Jets, working under head coach Bill Parcells. Weis came on staff as the wide receivers coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1998. That season, the Jets advanced the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1982.

In Weis’ first stint with the Patriots, he helped the club earn its second AFC Championship in team history, reaching the Super Bowl following the 1996 season. Over the four years of his first tour with New England, Weis coached tight ends (1993-94), running backs (1995) and wide receivers (1996), helping players like Ben Coates, Curtis Martin and Terry Glenn emerge as playmakers.

Weis first broke into the NFL as an assistant on Parcells’ N.Y. Giants staff from 1990-92, as a defensive/special teams assistant in 1990 and as running backs coach in 1991-92. In his first season with the team, the Giants won the Super Bowl. He then helped Rodney Hampton to a pair of 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

Weis spent time working in the Giants’ pro personnel department in 1989 before joining the team on a full-time basis. While doing that, he served as head coach at Township (N.J.) High School and led the team to the state championship.

From 1985-88, Weis worked as an assistant at South Carolina. He began his coaching career at Boonton (N.J.) High School in 1979 before serving five seasons at Morristown (N.J.) High School (1980-84).

In 2003, Weis and his wife Maura created the Hannah & Friends Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults with special needs. The foundation funds Hannah’s Helping Hands, which provides quality of life grants to families across the country who care for children and adults with special needs. The Weis family opened the Hannah and Friends Neighborhood, a 40-acre facility north of South Bend, Ind., that provides much-needed housing and care services for adults with special needs.

In the spring of 2008, Weis traveled to the Middle East as part of a contingent of college football coaches who were visiting military personnel stationed in the region.

Stay tuned...

2:22 p.m. Update:

Working on a couple of different leads at the moment, one involving Charlie Weis and the other involving Gus Malzahn.

Can't say much more than that just yet, but didn't want you to think I fell asleep.

I'll have updates as soon as I can nail it down. Hoping that's very soon!

In the meantime, I'm hearing that ESPN Radio in Arkansas is saying that Gus Malzahn is the guy at Kansas. I'm not buying it.

Malzahn spent time in Springdale, Ark., as a high school coach and also worked one year under Houston Nutt at the University of Arkansas.

It seems the world is split on this deal. Some say Weis, others say Malzahn. Crazy that the candidates could be so different. Or are they? Both are great offensive minds and both are no-nonsense guys who live and breathe football.

Stay tuned...

11:34 a.m. Update:

For those who have yet to purchase their Charlie Weis bobble head dolls and may still be wondering about Gus Malzahn's role in all of this, a couple of folks who cover the team down in Auburn have told me that the word down there is that Malzahn is a leading candidate for the KU job.

That's not really a surprise. Malzahn's been in it for the past several days. One guy down there told me that some folks at Auburn expect Malzahn to know his status with Kansas by Friday.

Just because he's A leading candidate doesn't mean that he's THE leading candidate.

But I'd be careful about getting too wrapped up in the Weis rumors. It could very easily be either one of these guys.

And, heck, the way this thing's gone, it could still be somebody else entirely.

Our own Tom Keegan just penned this column saying that Dave Doeren could still be in the mix.

Either way, I'm still confident that it'll be done very soon. Likely Friday, with word about who the guy is possibly coming out sometime today or tonight.

Stay tuned...

10:42 a.m. Update:

Spent most of the morning trying to track down this Charlie Weis situation and information is tough to come by. A few different sources have said that Weis is absolutely a legit candidate for Kansas, but whether he's the guy KU is going to hire or not remains up in the air.

Football Rumor Mill continues to push updates on Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, with the latest update from them saying that Malzahn has emerged as the leader. This is very possible.

Evidently, so is Weis. What a crazy turn of events this search has taken. All signs continue to point to a Friday press conference to introduce the new coach and a Saturday introduction at the KU-Ohio State men's basketball game.

Here's something to think about, if it is Weis, can you imagine the coaching staff he could put together? I don't know about you, but I think there could be some pretty impressive and surprising names there, too.

While we wait for more info on Weis and the search, here's a video of Weis talking about moving from Kansas City to Florida after the 2010 NFL season.

Stay tuned...

1:43 a.m. Update:

Charlie Weis.

Just the name makes your ears perk up a little more and holds your attention a little longer.

How long? Maybe just a night. Maybe 24 hours. Maybe for the length of whatever kind of contract he'd be willing to sign at KU.

We've reached that point in the search to find KU's next head football coach. Call it crazy. Call it delirium. I know fans of Kansas State, Missouri and probably every other college football program in the country certainly will. But that's OK, because, at least for now, it may actually be an option for KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger and the Jayhawks.

Weis, 55, currently is finishing up his first season as offensive coordinator at Florida. In 2010, Weis held the same position with the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs -- which at least lends some credence to the talk that he may be interested in coming to KU -- and helped KC reach the playoffs.

He left, abruptly, because of a desire to be closer to his son at UF and his family. Now, sources have told the Journal-World that Weis has talked with Zenger in recent days. Whether that was as an actual candidate for the job or more of a consultant remains to be revealed. But the mere thought that this four-time Super Bowl champion who spent five seasons as the head coach at Notre Dame (35-27 from 2005-09) would even be talking to anyone at KU about football is reason enough to pay attention.

There are a lot of things about Weis coming to KU that make no sense. While at Notre Dame, where he struggled to win big but still guided the Irish to 3 bowls in 5 seasons, those who spent time around him said Weis, a 15-year veteran of the NFL sidelines, didn't take to the grind of recruiting, disliked even more the public appearances and donor functions and was more concerned about coaching the X's and O's of the game than running a program. Scary thought for a program like KU, which currently is in desperate need of a guy who can do it all. And do it well.

In addition, it would not be right to blog about Weis coming to Kansas without saying that the idea of him taking on the enormous gamble of trying to win at KU seems at least a little odd.

As for why he might consider it... Who knows? Maybe the challenge appeals to him. Win here and he's a legend. Maybe he believes in and likes Zenger. Maybe he wants to try to redeem himself for the 5 years in South Bend, Ind., and believes he can do better in the college game.

And maybe he doesn't. Again, our sources are simply telling us that Weis has talked with Zenger. To what extent and what was discussed is unknown at this time.

What is known is that after 10 days of waiting, wondering, worrying and hand-wringing, if Zenger ends this search by announcing Weis as KU's replacement for Turner Gill, KU fans are likely to party like it's 2007 and shouts of "Mike Who?" will be heard across campus.

Long, lonnnnnggg, way to go before we're there. And until anything more concrete emerges, you have to assume that KU hiring a guy like Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, Jacksonville OC Dirk Koetter or La. Tech head coach Sonny Dykes is much more likely.

But you never know what could happen. Especially with this search.

On to Day 11. Could be another crazy day.

Stay tuned...

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