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Weis officially out as head coach

Nov 30, 2009, 3:06 PM EDT

Word has officially come from the Notre Dame athletic department that Charlie Weis will not be retained as head football coach. Rob Ianello “will assume responsibility for football operations until a new coach is hired.”

Here’s the entire release from Notre Dame:

University of Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis will not be retained, University director of athletics Jack Swarbrick announced today.

“We have great expectations for our football program, and we have not been able to meet those expectations,” Swarbrick said. “As an alumnus, Charlie understands those goals and expectations better than most, and he’s as disappointed as anyone that we have not achieved the desired results.”

Swarbrick recommended the dismissal Sunday night to Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

“We have established an evaluation process for all of our athletic programs that, in the end, results in a recommendation from Jack to me,” Father Jenkins said. “I accepted Jack’s decision and look forward to working with him on selecting a new head football coach who is the very best choice possible for the University and especially for our student-athletes.

“I am most appreciative to Coach Weis for his service to Notre Dame and our community. He and his family have my prayers and best wishes.”

Weis spent five seasons as Irish head coach from 2005-09, with his teams achieving consecutive records of 9-3 (Fiesta Bowl appearance) in ’05, 10-3 (Sugar Bowl appearance), 3-9, 7-6 (Hawai’i Bowl victory) and 6-6 in ’09 – for an overall 35-27 mark (.564).

Swarbrick announced that Rob Ianello, the Irish assistant head coach/offense, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator, will assume responsibility for football operations until a new coach is hired. Ianello has spent the past five seasons on the Notre Dame staff and previously was part of football staffs at Wisconsin (1990-93, 2003-04), Arizona (1994-2002) and Alabama (1987-89).

Weis exits as coach with a 35-27 record after five seasons. The word choices made when describing Rob Ianello staying on, but not being named an interim head coach is quite interesting and could mean that a decision on a bowl game has already been made.  

  1. Minnesota Phil - Nov 30, 2009 at 3:25 PM

    Keep Rob Ianello – the guy can flat-out recruit! We have to get Urban Meyer – he’s the only hope to return Notre Dame to greatness. I think no other coach can handle it.

  2. mrrandolph - Nov 30, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    I think the AD and President handled the firing with class. I thought the release was first class and a credit to ND football and the Athletic Department.

  3. Georgia Brown - Nov 30, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    I think it’s a disgrace.

  4. sharkey - Nov 30, 2009 at 3:31 PM

    Best wishes, Charlie, to you and family. Thank you. Your dedication and hard work has not gone unnoticed by any of us. God bless,and I hope the future holds great things in store for you.

  5. rnaro - Nov 30, 2009 at 3:33 PM

    Charlie was an ND grad. Let all alums never forget that he is still one of us. He will land on his feet.
    REN ’62

  6. Jake - Nov 30, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    We have now seen a prime example of “The Peter Principal”. (Promoting a person to the level of their incompentence). Weis was a good coordinator but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a good head coach. In addition pro football and college football is really apples and oranges. We’ve seen good college coaches fall flat on their faces at the pro level and visa versa.
    J.C. and Tate would be foolish at this point to stay. They will go high on the pro draft and now with this change should exit, take the money and run. Why risk a career ending injury and literally millions to play for a program in transition. Let the new coach pick his own people and begin re-building.
    What ever happens this new coach choice is critical. The future of ND in the next decade and possibly beyond depends on it.

  7. jennifer - Nov 30, 2009 at 3:47 PM

    This is not a day for cheering or jeering. It’s a tough day for all Irish fans, regardless of their coaching choice. I think we need to be mindful of this before posting here, and focus now on some of the lasting contributions Coach Weis made. His players were loyal to him, which says a lot, and his impact on the Notre Dame community, particularly with Hannah’s House, should never be underestimated nor forgotten.

  8. Jeff - Nov 30, 2009 at 4:01 PM

    Yes it is a day for cheering because he only messed up the Notre Dame Football program. I wish Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate would stay but I doubt they will now. Good Luck to those two players but Coach Weis only messed up the football team BIG TIME!

  9. NDFAN401 - Nov 30, 2009 at 4:51 PM

    I am deeply saddened that Charlie Weis’s time at Notre Dame was not more successful. I am sure that the entire episode has weighed heavily on him and now I bid him farewell with nothing but prayers and good wishes.
    The coach that is hired to replace him is going to be watched closely and will be under heavy scrutiny from the first day. I do not know who the coach is going to be but what I do know is that I really do not want to go through this debacle again in two or three years. Make your choices carefully Father Jenkins and Mr. Swarbrick as the list of candidates is long but the list of GOOD candidates is very short!

  10. Jan - Nov 30, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    I just don’t get where all the hatred, ill feelings, vile personal attacks on Charlie and his family come from. Up to and including mocking his mentally handicapped daughter. REALLY!!! He’s gone detractors, he’s gone already. He did his best, he tried harder than anyone could possibly expect, and he did it with integrity.
    I would recommend the recent article by Anthony Pilcher at for the best summary of Charlie’s accomplishments and shortfalls.
    Do Charlie’s critics hold themselves to the same standards that they demand from others? Regardless, remember the saying: “What goes around, comes around”. What you keep dishing out to others will come back to you – good and bad, alike….and with compound interest.
    Thank you, Charlie, for your contributions…in my opinion you left the program better than what you inherited. All the best to you and your family.

  11. Jeff - Nov 30, 2009 at 5:44 PM

    I don’t like him and his family because they don’t support the Special Olympics and that isn’t right. My friend, Katie told me that on the phone. We both are in the Special Olympics for Swimming and what does their family do instead? They setup Hannah & Friends instead of supporting the Special Olympics!
    Yeah Coach Weis is so great, everyone that thinks that – NOT!

  12. Irish - Nov 30, 2009 at 6:24 PM

    When did Notre Dame lose its GREATNESS? Notre Dame is a University. A University is not rated on its football team…but the quality of the students and education.

  13. hannibalthecannibal - Nov 30, 2009 at 6:54 PM

    Too bad. I always liked Charlie, but he’s just not a head coach. He’s a great recruiter and an even better offensive coordinator, but that’s all. It wasn’t all bad under Charlie, but a real college head coach would’ve done far better than 35-27 with the talent he recruited. Unfortunately, I just don’t think there’s any way possible to gauge the next coach’s chances of success without testing him out for 3-5 years. Heck, people are way over-presumptuous if they assume someone like Urban Meyer could win at ND. Can he recruit true student-athletes? Can Stoops?
    Maybe only Jim Harbaugh has proven he can, but even Tyrone Willingham had a couple of really good seasons at Stanford, but that was over a period of seven years.

  14. StephenOfTroy - Nov 30, 2009 at 7:11 PM

    jennifer and Jeff: I don’t think today is a tough day, but nor do I think it’s a day for cheering. It’s more like a day for finally being able to breathe. Charlie Weis had his foot on the throat of the ND program ever since he went 3-9.
    Anyone with eyes could see that he needed to go after losing 9 games. You can’t blame Willingham for that season or any other; many commenters, analysts, and TV announcers have noted that Weis had his best years with Willingham’s recruits.
    Swarbrick commented in his press conference about the gulf between perception and reality as applied to Weis. I couldn’t agree more. For the life of me I cannot understand why some people perceive him to be a great coach (all that TOUCHDOWN CHARLIE nonsense), when in reality he did less than any of the guys ND ran out of South Bend for losing too often. And he supposedly had all this mastery of recruiting. Well, why isn’t it held against him, then, that he supposedly recruited so well but lost half the time? In fact, in years 3-5, he lost more than half the time.
    You’re right, hannibalthecannibal. Weis is not a head coach. He’ll be an offensive coordinator in the NFL again. But he may spend a little time counting his $18 million in blood money. Does anyone know whether the rumor that a well-heeled ND alum paid the money for the school to buy out Weis’s contract? If so, I’d like to know how much that person donated to charity! :)
    FINALLY, Notre Dame can begin trying to right the ship. Like Lou Holtz said today, there’s no excuse for not being able to win at ND. He mentioned the $25 million facilities, the TV contract, et cetera. He also relayed the story of how the ND President got paid $150,000, and Holtz got a raise to $150,000. He said Urban Meyer was on his staff, and made $55,000. Meyer recently reminded Holtz of that, and Holtz said that he told Meyer “you were overpaid at $55,000!” I love Lou Holtz.
    Whoever ND’s new coach is, I look forward to seeing what the new coach chooses to prioritize. Offense gets ratings but defense wins championships. A lot of people are impressed by Clausen’s stats or Tate’s stats, but I’m not one of them. ND needs, in my view, to recruit and develop its offensive and defensive lines, above all else. If they do that, then everything else is easy. If they don’t do that, then no matter what else they do, it will be very difficult if not impossible to win. Even though, as Holtz also said today, ND “only plays one Top-20 team a year, two at the most.” (I know who ONE of those teams is; who’s the other?)

  15. StephenOfTroy - Nov 30, 2009 at 7:17 PM

    I wonder what it means that the recruiting coordinator is in charge of football operations for the time being. Obviously it means ND wants to be able to recruit while it searches for a new coach; I get that part.
    But does that mean the recruiting coordinator is assured of retaining his job no matter who is brought in to run the show? From a recruit’s perspective, how much weight would you put into what you hear from Ianello in your living room if the guy is going to be history by the time spring practice rolls around? I would guess that ND is keeping Ianello in at least his present capacity. Otherwise they risk losing the recruiting class.

  16. Jake - Nov 30, 2009 at 9:48 PM

    To me Weis never looked the part. He always reminded me of a guy that just left a soup kitchen on his way to a Greyhound bus depot with a tote bag and his hoodie.
    If you think of a top tier college program coach one would imagine Urban or Gruden in their slick windbreakers and not a homeless guy wandering the streets. Charlie simply didn’t look the part.
    Yes I know that it means little in winning games but it has a significant effect on prospects. Would you rather have a guy like Meyer in your living room talking championshup football that he coached or a guy flashing super bowl rings won under some one else asking for brownies?
    Now before all of you send V-2 rockets my way let me say I think Weis is a real gentleman and stand up guy but what he is hired for is to win games. Being a ND coach means looking the part as well as being the part.
    ND has always been the halmark of college football. It deserves not only a winning coach but one that can look the part.

  17. Jan - Nov 30, 2009 at 11:01 PM

    Disagree Jake…..physical appearance and wardrobe are extremely low on the list of criteria, hopefully not at all. There are enough factors which impact actual success; let’s not add more.
    Win-loss record, graduation rate of players, and a list of other items consistent with the mission of the University are measured, not physical appearance and wardrobe or essentially “image”. Anthony Pilcher at MikeClashmore recently wrote an excellent article delineating his recommended 9 criteria. I suggest that you check out his article.
    I sometimes fear that your image concern was a key element in why Lou Holtz “left”.

  18. StephenOfTroy - Dec 1, 2009 at 7:17 PM

    Jake, I think Weis got his wardrobe idea by copying The Sweatshirt, who is head coach of the Patriots. I’ve always said Bill looked like a guy who sleeps in a bus terminal and just woke up 30 minutes prior to gametime.
    That’s fine in the pros, if the organization doesn’t mind. But I think in college, the team takes a lot of cues from the coach. You’re talking about 17 – 22 year old boys and young men. Many of them don’t know what it means to take anything seriously. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the image Weis conveyed was part of his undoing. But only because he coupled that slovenly, sloppy look with his ridiculous arrogance (“if you think they hired me to go .500, you got the wrong guy,” “every game will have a decided schematic advantage,” etc). It’s not unreasonable to think that some players thought they could just show up with a gold helmet and win games. They sure played like they thought that way.
    Whether Weis’s wardrobe or his coaching IQ was to blame, he wasn’t a good fit. He didn’t understand how to motivate players. That’s different from knowing how to make players loyal to you. I don’t dispute that he did that.
    As usual I don’t agree with “do you bloggers hold yourselves to the same standards you expect of a guy who took a boatload of money to do a high profile job that comes with high expectations” Jan. Image counts for A LOT, both in college football and in life. First impressions are lasting impressions, and Charlie Weis showed up on campus riding his white horse and talking tough. You’d think he’d actually been a head coach before. Lou Holtz was right to say yesterday that ND needs to hire someone who has actually been a head coach. Weis is all talk, no walk.
    Contrast Weis with Bobby Bowden, who finished in the top 3 for FOURTEEN years in a row. That man knows how to motivate players, and he’s a class act, gracious, warm, and humble. He’s worth a thousand TOUCHDOWN CHARLIES, by any measure.

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