Posts tagged with Charlie Weis
As the season slipped by and his offense continued to encounter road blocks, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis did everything he could think of to try to find a spark.
From changing personnel to tweaking schemes and everything in between, Weis spent countless hours — often late into the night on Saturdays following losses — trying to find a magic formula that would lead to more points and better efficiency.
While the second-year KU coach tried just about everything that crossed his mind before turning to true freshman quarterback Montell Cozart and watching the offense explode for 31 points in a victory over West Virginia last week, there also were a couple of things Weis didn't try.
Tuesday, he detailed one of them and explained why.
“I was thinking about going up and calling the game from the press box,” Weis said of calling the offensive plays from the bird's eye view enjoyed by most offensive coordinators. “Because every week I've been trying to figure out what can I do different to try to get the offense going. And I thought long and hard about it. But the real reason I didn't go up there was because I thought that people would say I'm just bringing attention to myself.”
As you surely know by now, Weis is one of those guys who attracts attention from all corners of the country for even the smallest things. It's been that way since he was the head coach at Notre Dame and even was true to a smaller extent while he was coordinating in the NFL prior to leading the Irish.
Contrary to popular belief, Weis does not prefer it this way. He'd rather the focus be on his players and his program and the young men who work their butts off because he tells them it will work. But because of his big personality, his honest nature and the spotlight that some of his previous jobs have put him under, Weis is a popular attraction, even at Kansas and even while battling through a hefty rebuilding project.
Earlier this season, I asked Weis if he had considered calling plays from the coaches box upstairs. The reason I asked was because I remembered him talking fondly about how much easier the job of an offensive coordinator was up there, away from the distractions of the sideline and in a setting controlled by you and only you, which included every detail from the temperature in the booth to the amount of light shining down and the bodies around you.
In addition to the more favorable environment, it's obvious that it's easier to see what opposing defenses are doing from high above the field as opposed to down the line of scrimmage.
At the time, Weis said the fact that his offense included so many new and inexperienced players was the reason for staying on the sideline.
“That's when you need to be on the field,” he said. “The time when it's easier to call the game from upstairs is when you have a more veteran team. You know, because now you're just relaying information to them. When there's a lot of moving parts, that's where you're better off being on the field.”
Weis continued to back up his point with an example from his days with the New England Patriots.
“Hey look, I was in the box for a good portion of my career and (New England quarterback Drew) Bledsoe got hurt, and (back up) Tommy (Brady) had to go in,” Weis said. “He wasn't really ready to go yet and I went down there (to the sideline). At the end of the year, we ended up winning it all, and (Patriots coach Bill) Belichick said you're staying on the field. There's different pros of being on the field now, but one of them is we have a bunch of guys going in and out (and) you get a better feel for what you can do and what you can't do.”
The other element that factors into the equation now that he's the head coach at Kansas is the fact that he's more than just the offensive coordinator. Instead of solely focusing in on calling the plays every other series and looking for ways to exploit the opposing defense, Weis is in charge of several other tasks on game days, from conversing with officials and disciplining his players to looking into the eyes of his quarterback and assistant coaches to get a feel for what's going on and who's capable of what. Weis likes that part of it as much as anything and, beyond that, he doesn't want to do anything out of the ordinary that might give the appearance that he's trying to do it just to be different or just for attention.
“I've called the game from the field, I've called the game from the sideline,” he said. “You're the head coach, you're supposed to be on the sideline. Why would you go up there unless you couldn't walk. Even when I couldn't walk, when I got wiped out (by a collision on the sideline in) 2007 or whatever it was, I still went on the field.”
And it looks like that's where he'll be staying.
There's been a lot of message board chatter lately about KU football coach Charlie Weis' contract — how much money he makes, how much he's worth and how much KU would owe him if the two sides chose to part ways before reaching the end of his contract, which runs through 2016.
Before I go any further, let me say that moving forward without Weis, in my opinion, is a bad idea for the program. Beyond that, I can't see it happening. He hasn't even made it through two seasons yet and, although the offense has left something to be desired, progress has been made in many areas — defense, special teams, off the field, etc. Moving forward without Weis starts the process all over again and keeps Kansas from building any kind of upward momentum. Give the guy a chance to tweak things this coming offseason, whether that means installing a new system, hiring an offensive coordinator, bringing in some new faces or all of the above, and see if Year 3 (the year many inside the program have been pointing to all along anyway) can be the year when things start to turn around.
OK. Now back the salary talk.
Weis came to Kansas with a $2.5 million price tag for three reasons: 1. His NFL pedigree and strong reputation. 2. Some savvy negotiating. 3. The debacle that was Lew Perkins' hire of Turner Gill.
Think about it. If Perkins had merely doubled Gill's Buffalo salary ($450,000), KU could have gotten away with paying Gill right around $1 million per year. He still would've come, because the opportunity to coach in the Big 12 is not offered up every day, and more than doubling his salary to the six-figure range surely would've sounded plenty sweet.
Had that happened, not only would KU have saved a boat load of money — Gill would've earned $2 million instead of $4.2 and been bought out for $3 million more instead of hauling in a final sum of $6 million to go away — but the bar also would have been substantially lower for the next coach, be it Weis or whomever.
At that point, the negotiation could have started with a much smaller number, say with KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger offering Weis in the $1.3-$1.5 million a year range and perhaps the two sides would've settled at or just under $2 million a year instead of $2.5 million.
For a program desperately wanting to move forward with plans to upgrade and renovate its football stadium, any kind of savings would be gold, especially when such a domino effect would've (or at least could've) saved Kansas close to $7.5 million during that time.
(This might be a good spot to set the record straight and remind you that neither Gill nor Mark Mangino are still being paid by Kansas)
This is not intended to be a knock on Zenger or Weis or Gill or even Perkins. Each man did what he thought he had to do and, beyond that, what's done is done.
One of the more interesting things about the whole situation, though, is that even those who believe Weis makes too much dough for what he's done at Kansas so far (personally, I think the man deserves the full five years to prove his worth) might be surprised to learn that he still ranks just seventh in the Big 12. Given his incredible season and recent contract extension dished out to Baylor coach Art Briles, along with the strong first-year showing from Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury, Weis may soon fall to ninth.
Call me crazy, but I don't think paying your head football coach the ninth highest salary in a 10-team league is unreasonable.
Remember, we now live in the age of football-driven conference realignment and, if anything, I would think that athletic directors everywhere would darn sure want their football coaches to be paid in the top half of their leagues.
Just last week, USA Today released its collection of the salary numbers for college football coaches across the country, and it revealed that Weis' $2.5 million annual haul ranks 31st nationally.
The whole thing is relative and each university faces its own unique set of circumstances that determine how — and even why — coaches are paid what they're paid.
Perkins paid Gill what he wanted the job to be worth instead of paying Gill what he deserved, and that one move forever changed the KU football salary structure.
Regardless of how things wind up with Weis, whether he wins and goes on to make more money or loses and is eventually replaced, KU is going to have to spend money to get better and spend even more to stay there.
That's a given. And, in many ways, it makes the actual figures irrelevant. The only real question is how long will it all take?
BIG 12 COACHING SALARIES:
1.Mack Brown, Texas --- $5.45 million per year (2nd nationally)
2.Bob Stoops, Oklahoma --- $4.77 million per year (5th)
3.Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State --- $3.45 million per year (11th)
4.Gary Patterson, TCU --- $3.12 million per year (16th)
5.Bill Snyder, Kansas State --- $2.80 million per year (19th)
6.Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia --- $2.63 million per year (24th)
7.Charlie Weis, Kansas --- $2.50 million per year (31st)
8.Art Briles, Baylor --- $2.43 million per year (34th)***
9.Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech --- $1.86 million per year (53rd)
10.Paul Rhoads, Iowa State --- $1.71 million per year (59th)
*** Briles' extension, which was announced Wednesday and will run through 2023, will vault him into third place on this list, at right around $4 million per season.
Dallas — Charlie Weis stole the show.
That's the prevailing thought from Day 1 of the 2013 Big 12 media days at the Omni Hotel as Day 2 gets going with five new teams stepping to the podium today. And, in a sense, Weis' Monday comments about enticing potential recruits to join the Kansas University project by asking them if they've “seen that pile of crap out there” has become the line to beat at the always interesting couple of days that kickoff each football season.
A quick Google search of the words “Charlie Weis pile of crap” produced more than 100 different links that in some way referenced or reacted to the comments that created a laugh in the Omni Ballroom and sent Twitter into a frenzy.
As has become fairly common, national media members lined up to take their shots at Weis for being his comments.
From Deadspin, which led with a fairly straightforward play-by-play of the popular quote:
“This is Charlie Weis we're talking about. He'll be back to bullying student reporters again before the end of September.”
From The Big Lead, which seemed a little more snarky in its reaction:
"Typical. Not coincidentally, that’s the exact same pitch undoubtedly deployed by coaches recruiting against Charlie Weis. Since, you know, this is college football and the coach is kind of responsible for the output on the field. Kansas State has brought in a lower ranked recruiting class than Kansas four of the past five years. They just won the nation’s second best league, with an even less touted “pile of crap.””
And from Yahoo, which evidently did not ask any of the four KU players in attendance how they felt about Weis' comments:
“What do Weis' current players think of this pitch? I can't imagine they're pleased with it, but I'm sure their coach's response would be "Stop playing like a pile of crap." Of course, the players might suggest the coaching improve a bit as well.”
By night's end Monday, Weis' comments had made their way to several national web sites and Twitter feeds. And that's to say nothing of the usual group of Big 12 scribes who chimed in on the soundbite — 475 media members were credentialed for this thing and dozens more kept an eye on it from a distance — or the fact that Weis' words made it to ESPN's SportsCenter by the end of the day.
Not bad for a Kansas football team that finished 1-11 in 2012 and can't do anything about erasing that for another six weeks.
And therein lies the motive for Weis' words. He was not trashing his team nor being unnecessarily cocky or crude. He was being honest, he was saying something he had told his team and local media members multiple times before Monday and he wasn't going to apologize for either.
"If people just listen to what you're saying, they usually don't misconstrue it,” said Weis, referring to the fact that the comments came after a stretch in which he had just pinpointed some of the good things KU has going for it. “Too many times — and let's not get into the Charlie Weis story, let's talk about Kansas, but let's be clear — too many times people have an impression without ever having met you. Never talk to you once in your life. I used that comment — 'Have you seen this pile of crap?' — and then someone out there has already written that I've given up on my team for this year. They've already put that out there. I mean, were you paying attention to a word I said? Why would you say something like that if you were paying attention at all?"
It's a fair question and one that Weis has gotten used to asking.
The part about this whole thing that people have yet to figure out is that he really doesn't care. Say what you will about Weis or his tactics or his personality or his brutal honesty, but don't mistake any of it for an act. Weis is who he is and, for the most players, his players love it.
That goes for most of his players from the past and that goes for the current KU players, too. None of the four in attendance Monday — Jake Heaps, Ben Heeney, Cassius Sendish, James Sims — had any issue at all about Weis' comments. In fact, each of them even went as far as to say they agreed and understood the point.
If the comments don't bother the players who they're made about, why do they bother everyone else?
KU football coach Charlie Weis’ Hannah & Friends celebration a wild success during first year in Kansas
Over the weekend, I was one of a group of five or six media members who got the opportunity to participate in the Hannah & Friends 10th anniversary celebration at Prairie Band Casino and Firekeeper Golf Course, just north of Topeka.
Hannah & Friends, as most of you surely know by now, is the non-profit charity founded by Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis and his wife, Maura, to help individuals with special needs like their daughter Hannah.
Last summer, I did an in-depth story on Hannah & Friends and how it came to be, and, in the month or so that I worked on it, came away believing I knew just about all there was to know about the heart-felt charity.
But it wasn't until this past weekend, when I met people who have so graciously donated their time and money to the cause and saw the looks in the eyes of those for whom a weekend like this is an annual occurrence, that I really felt like I understood what Hannah & Friends was all about.
I've linked to last summer's story above for those of you who may have missed it or simply want to learn more about the wonderful things the folks at Hannah & Friends do, which I now know includes putting on one heck of a party.
Friday night was the dinner, dancing and donating portion of the event, where several people currently employed by KU mingled with people from the Weises past, both former players and longtime friends.
The Bronx Wanderers, a Weis family favorite, handled the musical entertainment and Hollywood actor and KU grad, Rob Riggle, joined Notre Dame alum and ESPN personality, Mike Golic, to handle the comedic and emceeing responsibilities. As you can probably imagine, neither guy was shy about saying what was on his mind and both did a nice job of keeping the room laughing and helping the good times flow.
The silent auction featured everything from swanky jewelry and KU memorabilia to autographed gear from current NFL stars Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Robert Griffin III.
The dinner attracted more than 200 people, an impressive number for the first time in a new location. Of course, a big reason so many people showed up was the relationships they've built with Weis and his family throughout the years.
“Every year we make sure we have this weekend blocked out when we find out when Coach Weis is having his event and we're excited to be in Kansas for the first time,” said former Notre Dame tight end and current Minnesota Viking Kyle Rudolph. “This is our one reunion a year and it's awesome to get everybody back together, not only the players but a lot our old coaches who are at KU now. To see them and spend time with them and their families is a lot of fun.”
One of the most impressive parts about the event is how gracious the Weis family is in asking these people to join them in celebrating how far Hannah & Friends has come and dreaming about how much farther it can go.
The players and celebrities who attend are all welcomed as guests, with the Weis family picking up the cost of flying them in and putting them up in hotels. Most have plenty of money to be able to take care of such arrangements themselves, but the gesture means a lot to all of them and really speaks to the bond each one created with their former coach and/or friend.
“There are a ton of past players who come back to support him and I that's a big part of it, his relationship with them, whether it was at Notre Dame or Kansas or even back with the Patriots,” said former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, who joined the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason. “He is that kind of special person and what he's been able to accomplish with Hannah & Friends speaks for itself and the type of person that he is.”
If the Friday night dinner was the Hannah & Friends prom, the Saturday golf outing was the after party.
I've played in plenty of golf scrambles during the past 10 years or so, but never one like this. The Hannah & Friends weekend was a first-class event all the way and never did that hit home as hard as on the gorgeous golf course at Firekeeper.
In addition to being played at an amazing — and difficult — course, the round featured an incredible array of edible delights.
There was food and drink on just about every hole. Everything from subs and tiramisu to pizza barbecue and desserts found a place on or around the tee boxes and, as if that weren't enough, there were carts coming around throughout the round to make sure you were well hydrated and happy. A couple of carts dragged around buckets of ice water full of towels that were handed out to the players to keep them cool and comfortable in the hot sun.
At the end of the day, Coach Weis' son, Charlie Jr., picked up his fourth tournament title in five years. It's become common knowledge that Charlie Jr., brings in all the talent he can to give his team the best chance of winning it. Obviously, his old man's not the only one in the family who can recruit.
Although Charlie Jr.'s crew brought home the hardware, the second- and third-place teams included a little KU flavor from a few years back, as Greg Gurley helped his team to third place and Wayne Simien was on the runner-up. After the event, Simien Tweeted that his team was coming for the title in 2014. KU coach Bill Self and most of Weis' coaching staff also participated in the golf scramble.
As for Team Media, we threw down a respectable 7-under par, not bad for a bunch of guys who are paid to write and talk about sports and not play them.
Everyone I talked to at the event said this year's edition was just as enjoyable as any of the nine that came before it and added that they were looking forward to returning a year from now for another 48 hours of fun.
With Hannah having moved into the Hannah & Friends property in South Bend, Ind., full-time a couple of weeks ago and the Weises settling into Lawrence more and more each day, there figures to be much more where this came from in northeast Kansas in the future.
"We would like to do more here," Weis said. "But we need to raise more here. We try to put the money back where it came from."
While Weis spared no expense to make sure the weekend was jam packed with laughs and memories start to finish, it was clear that nobody who attended lost sight of the reason everyone got together in the first place.
“I think the biggest thing is just the overall mission that they have and knowing Coach Weis and knowing how passionate he is about finding a way to take care of Hannah and knowing that there are other families out there who are in similar situations,” Quinn said. “I've made it a staple in my life to always do everything I can to help out this organization.”
Added current KU assistant, Rob Ianello, who worked with Weis at Notre Dame before rejoining his staff at Kansas: “When I first got with coach, he really brought me awareness to people with special needs and different abilities and how they learn and how people care for them. The gala (Friday) night was terrific, the weekend here, to see all of the KU people mixing in with some of our Notre Dame people from past experiences, it shows how this has really touched a lot of people from different walks of life.”
Last year, KU coach Charlie Weis spent the month of May touring the state to drum up support for his new football program. This year, Weis is taking his show farther afield.
KU recently announced the dates of an eight-city regional tour that includes stops at several major KU alumni bases and begins today in Denver.
Dubbed the Kansas Football Preview Party, Weis and special guests from the KU athletic department will talk about the state of the program and the upcoming season at happy hours and luncheons open to the public. There is a charge — $10 to $20 — for most of the events, but the first two, Thursday in Denver and May 8 in Houston, are free.
PS: I know this wasn't very football related, but I still thought it was worth throwing out there so people in these areas would be able to go if they wanted to. So let's do a KU football chat Friday morning sometime to make up for it. Be looking for the link in a while and submit your questions early.
Now.... Here are the details from each of Weis' scheduled visits:
Denver: May 2, 2013
Stoney's Full Stream Tavern will host a Happy Hour event from 6:30-8:30 p.m. (MT). Food and drink will be available for purchase. Head coach Charlie Weis, Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger and other athletic department officials will attend. There is no charge for this event.
Houston: May 8, 2013
The Armadillo Palace will host a Happy Hour event from 7-9 p.m. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Head coach Charlie Weis, Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger and other athletic department officials will attend. There is no charge for this event.
Dallas: May 9, 2013
The Dallas Market Center will host a Happy Hour event from 6:30-8:30 p.m., in the Hall of Nations room. Head coach Charlie Weis, Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger and other athletic department officials will attend.
The cost of the event is $15.00 per person and includes food. A cash bar is available. Tickets can be purchased via http://www.kuathletics.com/sports/m-footbl/springtour.html.
St. Louis: May 15, 2013
The St. Louis Marriott West will host a Happy Hour event from 6:30-8:30 p.m. A cash bar and appetizers will be available. Head coach Charlie Weis, Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger and other athletic department officials will attend.
The cost of the event is $20.00 per person and includes food and two drink tickets. A cash bar is also available. Tickets can be purchased here.
Wichita: May 16, 2013
The Wichita Marriott will host a luncheon from 12-1 p.m. Registration for the event begins at 11:30 a.m. The seated luncheon, featuring Athletics Director Dr. Sheahon Zenger and head coach Charlie Weis, starts at noon.
The cost of the event is $20.00 per person and includes a plated lunch. Tickets can be purchased here.
Liberal: May 16, 2013
The Seward County Events Center will host a dinner event from 6:30-8:30 p.m., in the Ag Building. Head coach Charlie Weis, Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger and other athletic department officials will attend.
The cost of the event is $10.00 per person and includes food and drinks. Tickets can be purchased here.
Chicago: May 21, 2013
The Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel will host a Happy Hour event from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Head coach Charlie Weis, Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger and other athletic department officials will attend.
The cost of the event is $20.00 per person and includes appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages. A cash bar is also available. Tickets can be purchased here.
Topeka: May 22, 2013
The Ramada Inn Downtown Convention Center will host a Happy Hour event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Head coach Charlie Weis, Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger and other athletic department officials will attend. There is no charge for this event. Food and drink will be available.
Did you hear what Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis had to say about the whole Manti Te'o mess?
Well, in case you missed it, here are Weis' comments:
During the past couple of weeks, as the story about the Notre Dame linebacker and his relationship with a girlfriend who not only did not exist but also never actually died, spiraled into more strange territory by the minute, Weis has kept his name out of the circus.
It would've been real easy for the second-year KU coach to get involved. He knew Te'o well, recruited him to Notre Dame and developed a strong bond with his immediate family. With the Te'o story landing in places such as Good Morning America, CNN, and, of course, every sports blog and web site on the planet, Weis' name and perhaps even his current employer would have been plastered all over the place for days, perhaps even weeks, as the story grew into one of the most unreal, unbelievable and, frankly, uncomfortable stories in recent memory.
But rather than capitalize on the chance to jump back into the limelight for a while, Weis passed. At least publicly.
I've talked to more than one person with knowledge of the fact that Te'o has reached out to Weis for advice multiple times during the past couple of weeks.
To Weis' credit, he has taken and returned Te'o's calls and done everything he can to help the young man navigate his way through a tough situation. Even more to his credit, Weis hasn't called a press conference to tell the whole world about it.
Weis handled things the same way during the 2012 season when Notre Dame, and a roster that included several players Weis recruited, raced to an undefeated season and a berth in the national championship game. Weis did release a statement saying how happy he was for those players and the school, but did not take it further than that, despite the fact that he received dozens of requests for interviews on a weekly basis throughout various parts of the season.
I can only imagine who has asked and how many times they've called to get Weis' take on the Te'o fiasco.
After the initial flurry, I asked KU officials if Weis would be making any comments on the situation and was told that he would not because he wanted to be respectful of the fact that this is about Te'o and not about him.
It's refreshing to see a coach who is willing to lie low in today's world where coaches so often — too often? — jump at the chance to put a microphone in front of their face to gain visibility for their program and feed their own egos.
It would've been easy for Weis to do that, especially right now during this crucial time in recruiting. But he didn't. And I don't expect he ever will.