To paraphrase former President Gerald Ford after the resignation of Richard Nixon; “Notre Dame’s long (last 3 seasons – 16 wins – 21 losses with only 3 victories against opponents that finished with winning records), football nightmare is finally over.”
That is the worst three year record in the history of Notre Dame. This afternoon the Notre Dame Administration, athletic director Jack Swarbrick and President Rev. John Jenkins did what everyone was anticipating: fired head Coach Charlie Weis. “Expectations have not been met,” said the A.D.
It was never the right fit. Weis came with his “big” Jersey bravado, flashing his three Super-Bowl rings, and spouting that, “Nobody will out scheme us,” yet he lost six games by 26 points or more. If fact, during his five year tenure (35-27) his most impressive coaching performances were a pair of close losses to USC. OUCH.
He also never grasped the concept of what it takes to be a head coach. He loaded up his assistant staff with guys with reputations, but they never developed the “talent” that was recruited. It was often said under Weis, that when a kid came in as a freshman at Notre Dame, he left with the same ability as a senior, never developing to his full potential. That was never clearer Saturday night in Palo Alto against Stanford when the Irish defense looked as inept as the SEC investigating Bernie Madoff, in trying to stop Stanford. It looked that way for the last three years. In fact in his last coaching decision wearing the ND on his chest, Weis let the Cardinal score, saving time on the clock for one more desperation touchdown that wasn’t to be. But weep not for Charlie – he is rumored to have a buyout somewhere between $10-18 million, and you can bet that the NFL will be calling – Kansas City Chiefs anyone. It is imperative that Notre Dame get this choice right. Love- em or hate-em it’s good for college football when Notre Dame is winning. We like Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern – he’s young, played the game at the highest level – a two time All-America linebacker – is winning at a place with a higher standard of academics, plus the connection to Ara – who came from Northwestern and turned Notre Dame around.
Today a giant weight has been lifted off the backs of the Irish nation; it’s now up to the administration to make sure it stays that way.