A lot of the recent comments about KU's hire of Charlie Weis as their new head football coach have convinced me of two things I've suspected for a long time.
First, the Internet has made many of us dumber.
Second, it's made almost all of us more cynical – at least in the safety and anonymity of the interblogs.
Based on what I've seen on the Internet immediately following the hire, Weis has little to no chance of being successful. The reasons are diverse. And stupid. Here's what I know:
· Sheahon Zenger was turned down by five other coaches, including one who was offered a 10-year contract at $5 million per. Yes, this person was serious.
· Charlie Weis is a worse hire than Turner Gill. If he is an improvement, it's not by much. He'll be gone in two years – three, tops.
· Weis was a last minute, desperation hire.
· KU had no other options.
· Zenger is more concerned with making good sound bites than winning football games.
· He should've gone undefeated every year at Notre Dame because that's an easy job. This will likely come as news to Dan Devine, Gerry Faust, Ty Willingham and Brian Kelly.
· He's too arrogant to hire the big-name DC he needs to hire to be successful on both sides of the ball. KU is the new Texas Tech, circa 2006.
· He has no personality, and that's important in coaching. Then, later, the same person said they missed Mark Mangino. All I can say to that is, for the record, sir or madam, did you ever meet Mark Mangino?
· According to one intertubes guru, Weis is a "walking heart attack." I guess that means he's fat, so that means he can't coach. I'd also like to ask him or her, did you ever meet Mark Mangino?
· Speaking of Mark Mangino, Weis is a bigger bully than he was.
Welcome, Coach Weis!
I'd be lying if I said I thought this was an amazing, drop-your-pants-and-fire-a-rocket hire. If past performance is any indication of future results, Charlie Weis wants to focus on the fun side of the ball: offense. When it comes to defense, he's a honey badger. Probably his biggest failure at Notre Dame was that he recruited lousy talent on that side of the ball. And that can be a problem when the team he's taking over was dead last among BCS schools in team defense, giving up 44 points and 516 yards a game.
He's also known as a prickly guy who doesn't like to schmooze with media, alumni, donors, small children, cute, fuzzy kittens or anyone else.
On the other hand, anyone who dismisses this hire out of hand knows less about sports than I do.
The Weis hire has more potential as a foundation-building hire than any other in the last 25 years, with the exception of the Mangino hire. Let's face it: the Fat Man would've been here for 25 years, if they'd have let him.
No other coach can walk into the living room of either a four-star recruit or a five-star donor with a ring on every finger of one hand: two BCS bowl rings and three Super Bowl rings. No one. Does that win games? No, but it sure impresses the hell out of recruits who can play and donors who can pay. After that, it's up to Weis and, maybe more importantly, his position coaches and coordinators.
He's one of the best offensive minds in football today. Ask Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. For that matter, ask Todd Haley when he takes a break from biting the heads off of kittens. (Side note: I can't help but wonder how he feels about this hire after the company line was that Weis was moving to Florida to work with his son.)
The one thing that many people seem hung up on was his perceived lack of success in his only other head coaching stint. Yeah, he didn't live up to Notre Dame's standards, but other than Lou Holtz, who has in the last 25 years? Seriously.
While I can understand that worry, I think it's worth remembering that Charlie Weis goes .500 at Notre Dame and gets fired. Mark Mangino did it at KU and became a legend.
Fans – including a lot of KU fans who are just used to failure inside Memorial Stadium – are missing two very important points here.
First, Charlie Weis is smart. He has to be. They don't give Super Bowl rings to chimps. He led a bunch of kids that got Ty Willingham fired to two BCS bowls. He knows how to look at a play or a sequence of plays or even players who are unsuccessful and say, "Wow, that stunk. Let's get a plan to make sure that doesn't happen again."
Is it so hard to believe Weis has a plan to make sure that he doesn't repeat his Notre Dame experience? Does he live in a vacuum? Do people still think this allegedly arrogant SOB won't hire a legitimate, big-time defensive coordinator to make sure that the team – and he – is successful?
I can guarantee that the unpleasant realities of Weis' rocky tenure at Notre Dame were broached by his new boss, Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger. Dr. Zenger has too much riding on this, his first hire, not to bring it up. Being a lifetime football coach, I also trust Zenger would have thanked Weis for his time had he not addressed those matters to his complete satisfaction.
Second, I'd also think it's a safe assumption that Weis hates losing. Again, people with Super Bowl rings don't suffer losses gladly.
It's well-documented – most recently by Weis' former colleague, Florida coach Will Muschamp – that the Notre Dame stint didn't sit well with Weis. Having had a few years to sit and stew about it, I'd imagine that a competitor like Weis would be highly-motivated to make people forget. Nothing sits in a successful coach's gut quite like an experience like that.
I won't guarantee the success of Kansas Football under Charlie Weis. I won't guarantee any program's success under anyone. There are just too many moving parts.
But I will say this isn't the bad hire a lot of fans – including too many so-called KU fans – want it to be. This isn't a guy who had one good season at a mid-major. Warts and all, Charlie Weis is a proven football mind.
Sorry to disappoint so many of you, folks, but I think this is a really good hire.