DALLAS - Full disclosure: University of Kansas grad, class of ... not that long ago. Feels like yesterday. Great to watch my basketball team flirt with not only NCAA violations, but a title run every so often.
Disgusting to watch my college football team destroyed by the likes of NW North Dakota State every year.
When Kansas hired Fort Worth's own Turner Gill to replace Mark Mangino a few years ago my reaction was, "Uhh ... well, OK. Maybe." And I never, ever liked Mangino even when he led the team to the Orange Bowl win. The man was a bully.
After watching Gill's KU team get destroyed at Baylor in his first season my reaction was, "Don't let him get on the plane."
Now that Gill was fired after just two seasons of some of the most disorganized, inept football the program has ever seen, which says just so much, Kansas made a splashy hire by landing former Notre Dame head coach and long time NFL assistant Charlie Weis.
My reaction was, "He must have been desperate to be a head coach again." His stint in South Bend was ugly, and I am not sure if any other BCS school would have hired him to be a head coach other than one like a Kansas.
So I asked him this on Tuesday at the Big 12 media day.
The Big Mac Blog: When you took the job, one of the lines that I had heard was: 'Oh, geez, he must have been desperate to be head coach again to take that job.' Were you desperate to be a head coach again and do you think that assessment's decidedly unfair?
Charlie Weis: I was offered other jobs for a lot more money, just so you know that.
The Big Mac Blog: Which ones?
Charlie Weis: It's not important. What's important is why did I take this job. And let's look at it from my perspective. You're coming into a team that was 3‑10 two years ago and 2‑10 last year. Not so long ago, it's 2007 and 2008, and they're playing in the Orange Bowl and the Insight Bowl and winning.
"It wasn't like it was 20 years ago now. Okay. It was a short time frame ago that that football program was playing in bowl games and winning.
"So you say, okay, they were there, they're here, what happened? How did they get from here to here and then how do you get back up? And to be honest with you, I think it's a very challenging situation. And it's one that, as I talked over with my wife and my son, we thought would be a very good challenge for us as a family but also very rewarding if it paid dividends."
For the sake of my alma mater's football program, I sincerely hope this hire works. Weis is right in that KU is just three hours away from two teams that have figured out how to win - Kansas State and Missouri. Why Kansas can't finish with seven or eight wins is more than a little frustrating.
It still comes down to players. Mangino was able to win because he rolled the dice on a ton of kids and got more than a little lucky with Todd Reesing as his quarterback; I am convinced Mangino never knew what he had in Reesing until he plugged him in because he didn't like any of his other quarterbacks.
I do believe Weis can coach, and that he has been humbled, but once he runs out of Notre Dame transfers, like Dayne Crist, it will come down to whom he can convince to come to a basketball school to play football.
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