Charlie Weis was hired as Notre Dame's head football coach in December of 2004. Between continuing as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots and trying to put together a respectable recruiting class in less than two months, Weis had a limited amount of time when it came to hiring a coaching staff.
But now, more than four years later, the coach believes that he has the right combination of assistants working under him.
"I would like to think that when you do due diligence and you're patient with your hires, now we're at the stage where you don't have to hire somebody the next day," Weis said. "If you're patient with your hires and you know what you're looking for (you will make good hires)."
Only three assistants remain from Weis' first staff, Rob Ianello, Bernie Parmalee and Brian Polian, and only Ianello and Parmalee are still in their original capacities.
Weis' first change was one of necessity when his first selection as quarterbacks coach, David Cutcliffe, was replaced by Peter Vaas before the 2005 season because of health reasons.
Before the 2007 season, Vaas was replaced by Ron Powlus and Corwin Brown was brought in to replace linebackers coach and defensive coordinator Rick Minter. Brown was moved to the secondary when defensive backs coach Bill Lewis retired a year later and Jon Tenuta took over as linebackers coach.
Weis replaced three assistants after the 2008 season as he brought in Tony Alford to coach the running backs, Frank Verducci to coach the offensive line and Randy Hart as the defensive line coach. Additionally, Notre Dame added former great Bryant Young as a defensive graduate assistant.
Unlike the assembly of his first staff, Weis took advantage of the time he had when making his most recent hires.
"You don't have to be impatient about how you go about finding people. You can be slow and methodical," he said. "Like everyone was worried about the defensive line coach situation. But right now, that defensive line coach situation has turned into a really healthy situation. Whereas you say, ‘What's he going to do? What's he going to do?'
"I was in no rush because you want to find the right situation and fortunately, patience paid off there because the combination of Randy and Bryant, I don't think I could be much more pleased with how that one worked out."
Both Ianello and Alford had known Hart before he came to South Bend and Weis took their input along with that of others before he made the hire.
"They told me that he was a long way away from retiring and when somebody gets into their 60s and you hear they're a long way away from retiring, it's not because of the money," said Weis. "It's because the passion for coaching."
But even Weis was taken aback when he first met Hart.
"I thought he was a professor that had come over from the college of business to be honest with you. I wanted to know if he was teaching accounting or what when he walked in the door," Weis laughed. "But it doesn't take long after being around him on the field. He's one of those guys, when you're walking down the hall, you better get out of the way because he's going to walk right by you."
Hart has taken Young under his wing.
"You don't see one without the other. Wherever one is, the other is," said Weis. "I think that Bryant probably has met his match as far as somebody that's like the Energizer Bunny because Randy is wired for sound and that's even brought more out of Bryant."
Hart has been in town for less than two months, but he already has Weis convinced.
"I'm very, very, very happy to have him and I think that Bryant is very, very happy that he's here as well because it's making him better in a hurry as well," Weis said.
Young is still learning what it takes to be a coach, but the former all-pro knows plenty about playing the game and has used that experience to show players exactly how to do things.
"The players know because he's done it so long that they better pay attention to him because here's a guy who's done it at the highest level," Weis said. "He doesn't have to earn his keep when it comes to showing them how to do things."
All of the new assistant coaches have impressed the headman in their first spring practices at Notre Dame.
"One of the things that I've probably been the most pleased with, besides the fact that they care and they're good football coaches, is that they are three very energetic, passionate coaches that are all very good teachers," said Weis. "They've brought a lot of energy to practice and they're very good teachers…I've been very pleased, not only with their energy, but also their teaching ability."