Kansas has fired head coach Charlie Weis, Sunday morning, after his team’s 23-0 shutout loss to Texas. Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen has been named interim coach, while athletics director Sheahon Zenger immediately begins the search for a replacement for Weis, who was 6-22 in his career at Kansas and in the third year of a five-year contract.
Rumors had been swirling the past few weeks, but really caught fire following a 41-3 loss at Duke in the season’s second game. The final straw apparently came during Saturday’s loss to a Texas team that nearly looked as bad, but did just enough to win. Kansas was shut out at home for the first time since a 64-0 loss to Kansas State in 2002.
"I normally do not favor changing coaches mid-season," Zenger said in a statement. "But I believe we have talented coaches and players in this program, and I think this decision gives our players the best chance to begin making progress right away.
"I appreciate what Coach Weis did with several facets of our football program," Zenger continued. "But we have not made the on-the-field progress we believe we should. I believe new leadership gives our coaches and players the best chance to make a fresh start."
Zenger informed Weis on Sunday morning before addressing the rest of the staff and the players. At 2-2, Kansas heads for West Virginia this coming Saturday. Ironically, the Mountaineers represent Weis’ only conference win and probably his signature win at KU, when they scored a 31-19 win last November.
"I am grateful for the KU fans, alumni and donors who continue to support our coaches and players," Zenger said.
Hired to replace Turner Gill in December 2011, Weis cleaned up many disastrous off the field problems and vowed to right the Jayhawks ship on the field. However, it never got traction as line of failed quarterback, including transfers Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps weren't able to make it happen, thanks in most part to depth issues that were severe.
In 2012, Weis opened with a victory over South Dakota State, but a week later suffered a home loss to Rice that told of similar defeat to come. Kansas would finish 1-11, but ironically, that may have been Weis' best team, as the Jayhawks were arguably in position to six more games that season.
Last season, KU's record improved to 3-9, but of those three wins, one came against FCS foe South Dakota and one needed a miracle fumble by Louisiana Tech to set up a long game winning field goal. The other victory was the team's best performance of the season against West Virginia, but the team followed that up with a blowout loss at Iowa State and home loss to Kansas State.
This season, Weis talked a big game, saying he expected his team to be contending for a bowl, but after struggling in a 34-28 victory over FCS Southeast Missouri State, they were thrashed 41-3 a week later at Duke. Rumors started to surface that a loss at home to Central Michigan could be the final nail in the coffin. A 24-10 win bought Weis a little more time, but the overall performance against Texas brought down the final curtain.
Now, Zenger readies himself to begin what will be just the school third coaching search in just five years.