Weis Worth It

The whispers and rumors have been put to rest and Irish nation can breathe a sigh of relief. Charlie Weis isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future by signing a 10-year contract extension with Notre Dame in the range of $3-4 million dollars a year, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. That's a lot of dough for a head coach but if 2005 is a glimpse of what's to come, the investment is a wise one.

Notre Dame had to have heard the rumblings. There will be numerous openings next year in the NFL and Weis would have been a hot commodity. The play of the Irish this season would have been exhibit one in throwing millions of dollars towards Weis in the hopes of a return back to the pros.

But what has Weis said from the first day he arrived on campus? Notre Dame is not a stepping stone to another more lucrative coaching position. Weis was a student at the university back in the 1970's and knows the tradition and history of the program. It appears he'll be making some of his own history in the next few years if 2005 is any indication.

"When I first came here, I made it pretty evident from the day I walked in the door, when I was offered this job and we made the family decision to take this job, we were doing it on a permanent basis," Weis said. "Not on a quick fix or to buy some time to go somewhere else."

The transformation from last year's team to this season's version has been startling. The differences are night and day and the attitude is back at Notre Dame. Weis was brought to South Bend to resurrect a stagnant offense and win football games.

So far, so good. Quarterback Brady Quinn is frequently mentioned in Heisman Trophy discussions and the offense is averaging close to 40 points a ballgame. The players are displaying cool confidence on the football field and expect to win every Saturday afternoon. Weis is the number one reason for this metamorphosis.

His comments on Sunday also make it clear how much family factors into his life. The last year of the extension would be 2015, the same year his son, Charlie, Jr., would potentially graduate from Notre Dame. Weis talked about making everyone in his family happy and setting up Charlie, Jr. with a first-rate education. A man takes care of his family first and foremost and Weis has achieved that objective with the new contract.

On the football side of the equation, the negative recruiting can be turned down a few decibels. Always a problem with a hot head coaching prospect, the rumors of departure can come from anywhere. In this case, it was from an NFL.com article. It's a safe bet that opposing teams have been using these claims against Notre Dame in the recruiting wars.

To this point, they haven't hurt Weis's efforts in landing a top-5 class for 2006. Other big-time coaching commodities have to deal with this same issue year in and year out. Pete Carroll, whose name always seems to be popping up with any NFL head coaching vacancy, continues to land great recruiting classes despite always being mentioned as a possible candidate. Success breeds these discussions. Weis has been better than advertised and the new contract tells recruits he's here to stay.

"I am not big on negative recruiting," Weis said. "Every prospect that I have ever talked to will tell you that I will say to them, ‘I am here to represent Notre Dame, not to talk about another school.'

"By that being out there, it allowed that uncertainty to be there. What is he really going to do? Now you know who you are going to play for your entire college career. It erases that uncertainty and actually it flips that uncertainty to a strong plus as far as Notre Dame and Charlie Weis are concerned."

Weis and the players can now get back to work after a bye week without a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the team. Tennessee, the Irish's next opponent, will be the talk this week instead of Weis going back to the pros. The signing was a clear and decisive signal in his commitment towards the university and all parties involved benefit from the agreement. For Irish fans, the benefit is having a man as prepared and determined as Weis lead the Notre Dame football program back to national prominence for years to come.

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