Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Weis lives; Irish Administration fail to pull trigger on Weis era


Self-anointed guru Charlie Weis managed to dodge the bullet. After being thumped by U.S.C. 38-3 last week many felt Weis had limped along the side lines as Notre Dames head coach for the last time. The Irish brain trust decided Weis is still their guy so they reframed from pulling the trigger on the Charlie Weis era.

Surprisingly Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick suggested The Irish are going in the right direction under Weis. He stated, “I am confident that Charlie has a strong foundation in place for future success and that the best course of action is to move forward under his leadership.”

Typically past success is a strong indicator of future success. Based on the latter what success has the Irish experienced the last two years that warrants Weis to continue coaching?

After playing one of the weakest schedules in the country this year the Irish still failed under Weis. After starting the season quickly at 4-1 they limped in at 2-5. Is this the type of faltering leadership Swarbrick wants leading the Irish?

How can setting a team record for losses last year (9) be viewed as going in the right direction?

Is setting a school record for the most loses in any two-year span (15) in school history the type he deems appropriate for the team?
Does Swarbrick want reward the Irish faithful by having Weis’ players having snow balls hurled at them from the home crowd for losing to a 3-8 Syracuse team they were favored to beat by 191/2 points?

Weis has demonstrated he’s a perennial side-kick, not a leader. He’s talks a big game like he’s Batman but he’s really Robin.

Other than coaching a high school team to a state title in New Jersey in 1989 he’s never been the guy. The reason why Weis ended up in the college ranks is because no one in the N.F.L. wanted him.

Why Weis has gotten a vote of confidence defines conventional logic. Local columnist Pete DiPrimio stated, “Critics will rip Swarbrick for keeping Weis, but it was the right thing to do. Five years is fair to build a program, especially with the kind of recruiting Weis has done.”

The latter statement is very interesting indeed.

If keeping Weis was “the right thing to do” how does one explain the Willingham firing? If five years is “fair to build a program” why wasn’t Willingham allowed to finish his five years?

Though the Irish administration won’t say it publicly I think they know they treated Willingham unfairly. When you compare Willingham’s record after three years (21-15) to Weis’s (22-15) I don’t see how Willingham got canned and how Weis got to continue. Based on the latter Weis should have been shown the door last year.

I don’t think Willingham was totally comfortable at Notre Dame in being the first African American coach in any sport in the schools history. He wasn’t their first choice and I believe, keeping with tradition, they settled on the unproven Weis to keep it status quo. In short, I don’t think Weis was ever the right man for the job, he was the white man for the job.

Hold your horses.

I know Willingham didn’t get it done as the Washington Huskies head coach but at least got a fair shake. Willingham couldn’t revamp the troubled program he inherited from former coach Rick Neuheisel. I know Willingham’s team posted a 0-11 record this season. On Oct. 27 he was notified the end had come and I totally concur. The bottom line is producing wins and 0-11 is not acceptable on any level of coaching.

But the latter is beside the point. The point is Willingham was held to a higher standard when he was coach than Weis is currently being held to.

Days after Media Day in South Bend prior to the start of the season I stated, “I don't think Weis was the right man for the Irish job. Also, I don't think he's doing a better job than the person he replaced. Without question, Weis should be on the hot seat. If he doesn't produce big this year, his head should roll like Willingham's did.”

Today I’m suggesting the Irish administration should’ve walked their self anointed guru to the gallows. The Irish administration had no problem pulling the trigger on Willingham; they shouldn’t be so gun shy in pulling the trigger on Weis.

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