Saturday, October 29, 2005

This, literally, just in | by Jay

Head Coach Charlie Weis Signs Contract Extension
Weis inks a new deal to continue as coach through the 2015 season

(Link to press release)

Oct. 29, 2005

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis has signed a new, 10-year contract to continue as coach of the Fighting Irish program through the 2015 campaign.

Weis, who is in his first season at the Irish helm in 2005, signed an original six-year contract (that took him through the 2010 season) when he was hired on Dec. 12, 2004, as Notre Dame's 28th head football coach. This new agreement - that takes effect with the 2006 season -- adds an additional five years to that commitment.

Said Weis, "Since the first day I arrived at Notre Dame as head football coach, one of my primary goals was to be able to see this job through to the time my son, Charlie, would graduate from the University of Notre Dame and to stay in this position until I retire. By restructuring this contract, adding an additional five years, this allows me to accomplish that goal. Maura, Charlie, Hannah and I are very happy to become a permanent fixture in the Notre Dame community."

Pat here, chiming in with my 2 cents.

First off, I'm truly surprised that Notre Dame reacted this quickly and strongly to the Weis-NFL internet rumors. I'll cop to seeing "Kirk Herbstreit reports Notre Dame..." scrolling along the ESPN ticker and freezing, expecting some gut-punch news about Quinn's arm or Weis' new job with the Vikings. But then the words "...agrees to a 10 year contract extension with Charlie Weis" appeared, and I exhaled. And smiled.

Coach Weis made it very clear during his first few public appearances that he considered Notre Dame a destination, and not a stepping stone. But that still didn't stop the rumors. Given that he and the staff were out recruiting the past few days, I'm sure he got asked one too many questions about all the NFL rumors, and decided to put the speculation to rest.

He probably considered that the best way to answer the question was to cement his commitment to Notre Dame, and Notre Dame's commitment to him. Some may think the timing's a coincidence, but there haven't been too many coincidences with Weis thus far. (I also think that giving the scoop to Kirk Herbstreit, the one major TV analyst who publicly bought into ND and Weis before the Pitt game, was a calculated move.)

This new contract really is a credit to the new administration, specifically president Fr. John Jenkins and executive vice president John Affleck-Graves, for not only their incredibly strong vote of confidence in Weis, but also the boldness to go ahead with an extension that will undoubtedly raise an eyebrow or two.

I'm sure somewhere out there someone's already writing a "but Ty started 7-0 and didn't get an extension" article. And yes, this new contract I'm sure includes a buyout clause, and performance clauses, and all the other goodies that every single coaching contract in America contains. I'm sure someone will discover the new buyout clause price, but that's really not the point of the contract.

It's not about making sure that ND gets a better payday if Weis bolts for the NFL. Simply put, it's Charlie reminding everyone that he's here to stay.