There have been a lot of excuses for head-coaching failures over the years, but this one may take the cake. Hell, it may take the whole dessert cart.
In his first two seasons at Notre Dame, in 2005 and 2006 with Tyrone Willingham‘s recruits, the Irish won 19 games and appeared in a pair of BCS games. Weis bottomed out in 2007 at 3-9, then couldn’t recover from a 13-12 mark the next two seasons as he was fired by the Irish in November of 2009.
There were many reasons for Weis’ failure in South Bend, namely that he personified the Peter Principle: a talented offensive coordinator in way over his head as a head coach. That opinion was buttressed by his abject failure at Kansas (6-22 overall, 1-18 in Big 12 play).
Weis, though, sees his tenure underneath Touchdown Jesus differently. Much, much differently. From ArkansasOnline.com‘s account of Weis’ appearance at a Little Rock Touchdown Club event Tuesday:
Weis said his struggles at Notre Dame could be traced to the composition of his coaching staff. Three of his assistants — Michael Haywood (Miami, Ohio), Rob Ianello (Akron) and Brian Polian (Nevada) — eventually left to run their own programs.
“I hired too many people that wanted to use the school as a stepping-stone for a head coaching job,” Weis said.
What the what? Ianello didn’t land his first head-coaching job until taking over Akron shortly after Weis was fired by Notre Dame. Polian was with Weis until the firing and didn’t become the head coach at Nevada until 2013. Only Haywood actually left Weis’ staff for a head-coaching job, and even that departure came in December of 20008, after Weis’ fourth season with the Irish.
So, again, how exactly did a trio of “overly-ambitious” assistants torpedo his tenure? The only thing lamer than Weis’ 41-49 record as a head coach is his throwing those assistants under the bus and refusing to accept his own failures as the leader of a football program.