Time to Move Forward

Swarbrick to look for "The next right successor to Rockne and Leahy and Parseghian and Holtz."

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick met with the media tonight to officially confirm the firing of head football coach Charlie Weis.

"As indicated by a press release we issued earlier today...last night I made a recommendation to Father Jenkins that we take our football program in a different direction by replacing our head coach. Father Jenkins accepted that recommendation, so effective December 1st we will move forward in that way."

Though it had been widely reported that Weis was out since last Tuesday when Notre Dame canceled all media access to the team in preparation for the contest at Stanford, Swarbrick offered that the decision was anything but a done deal.

"For many of you who may have thought that was a foregone conclusion, I will say to you that the decision was harder than you may have thought, principally because of the man it involved.

"Those of us who had the opportunity to work closely with Coach Weis or play for him couldn't help but develop an affinity for him. I've said often in recent days that I've never met anyone for whom there was a bigger gulf between perception and reality, and I think that is true about our departing coach."

But 80,000 People Don't Attend Chemistry Experiments

After ultimately acknowledging Weis' failure on the field, Swarbrick lauded the former head man's impact on his student-athletes and those close to him.

"I hope we can find somebody who loves the University as much as he did…as he does…and who cares as much about his student-athletes as he does.

"He made many contributions to the University; important things that serve us in good stead going forward: he demonstrated that you could bring the very best student-athletes to this campus and attract them to play football for Notre Dame, and he demonstrated that once they're here they can have the full success we expect from student-athletes.

Much like those that coached before him, Weis' teams excelled in the classroom, an area not overlooked by the Irish A.D.

"You know, Charlie did win a national championship; he won a national championship when his football program finished first in graduation success rate this year. And that is an important contribution and one in which we value very highly.

"It's probably a measure of our relationship and how he's approaching this: I got a call from him this morning and he wanted to know how I was doing. He will go on to have great success; he'll add some Super Bowl rings no doubt, to the ones he already has as a successful coordinator in the NFL and we will miss him, but for us its time to move forward."

Beaten but Unbowed

Though neither Weis nor his two predecessors met on-field expectations, Swarbrick believes brighter days are just around the corner for the nation's most storied football program, and that a change was the only way for the team to reach its potential.

"It's time to move forward because its critical to this program, and to its place in this University and in college football that we compete at the highest level; that we compete for national championships.

"And as we go out now and begin our search (for Weis' successor), that is our focus: finding the right individual to lead Notre Dame back to a place of prominence in college football. The University is better when we do that; college football is better when we do that, and the student-athletes who call this place home are better when we do that."

"The search for a new coach has effectively begun," Swarbrick later continued. "I have been reaching out to a number of people to get their council, their advice; talking to people familiar with this University about the characteristics they think I should focus on in a new coach; and also reaching out to people in the collegiate football and professional football industry to get their assessment of coaches working today.

"The results of that (search) lead me to conclude that this is a job in which there is great interest. It is a job in which people understand the potential that is here to return Notre Dame to a position of prominence in college football, and I am excited to embark full bore in the process of finding the next right successor to the legacy of Rockne and Leahy and Parseghian and Holtz."

What About Bob?

Swarbrick's last question was a direct query on the not-yet-dead rumor that Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops has been contacted and is interested in the head coaching position at the University.

The Irish AD flatly denounced the rumors.

"My reaction to all of those reports, and its important to make that known, is that they're all inaccurate. We haven't contacted anybody up to this moment.

"None of that happened," Swarbrick continued when speaking of proclamations from various coaches stating that they're not interested in the now-available position. "So let's let the process run its course so we can talk to the people we have a strong interest in and see what reaction we get."

Swarbrick was later asked two related questions to the rumored recent contact with Stoops and/or other candidates:

Q: "Have any potential candidates been approached in any way, shape, or form."

Answer: "Absolutely not."

"Why haven't you contacted anyone at this time?"

Answer: "Because we had a head coach. And now that we have made this decision and implemented it we will go about the process of looking at a head coach."

Note: Part II of Jack Swarbrick's Monday session with the media including his views on the pending search will be published shortly.

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