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Newz Forum: OTHER: COLLEGE: Weis to be introduced as Irish coach Monday

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posted on Dec, 12 2004 @ 10:45 AM
Charlie Weis is to become the new Notre Dame football coach, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports.

Sources close to the university confirmed Saturday that the New England Patriots offensive coordinator has agreed to a six-year contract that will pay him approximately $2 million per year.

Weis will fly to South Bend after Sunday's home game against the Cincinnati Bengals and meet with the Fighting Irish football team that night.

A press conference to introduce Weis will be held Monday.

Weis could not be reached by The Associated Press at his Massachusetts home Saturday night.

The Fighting Irish have been searching for nearly two weeks for a replacement for Tyrone Willingham, who was fired Nov. 30 after posting a 21-15 record in three years.

Notre Dame, which interviewed Weis this week, also interviewed Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Tom Clements on Thursday night. Notre Dame officials called Clements, a former Fighting Irish quarterback, on Saturday morning and told him he was no longer in the running for the job and negotiations with Weis began.

The report is "nothing that we would comment on," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said.

Weis would be the first Notre Dame alum to coach the Irish since Hugh Devore was interim coach in 1963. Though he never played for the Fighting Irish, Weis graduated from the school in 1978 with a degree in communications and education.

Weis, 48, started as a high school coach and has long wanted to become a head coach. He went as far as undergoing gastric bypass surgery to help improve his chances of getting a job.

He said he primarily underwent the surgery for health reasons because his father died at age 56 from complications of being overweight, and because of the death in 2001 of fellow assistant coach Dick Rehbein at 45 from degenerative heart disease.

But he also knew that losing weight would help him become a head coach.

"I think there's a lot of validity in the thought that appearance comes into play," he said two years ago.

The surgery led to life-threatening internal bleeding that forced him to undergo surgery again two days later and kept him in intensive care for nearly two weeks.

Weis' success with the Patriots hurt his chances of getting an NFL head coaching job. He interviewed last year with the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills, but an NFL rule that prohibits assistants from being hired while their teams are still in the playoffs essentially prevented him from being seriously considered.

His weight problems and near-death experience also might have hurt his chances because of speculation his health wasn't good enough to handle a head coaching job.

"I think some people were totally misguided in terms of my physical abilities to put in a full day," Weis said last year.

If Weis is hired by Notre Dame, it is unclear when he would leave the Patriots. New England coach Bill Belichick said Friday he expects Weis to stay with the team through the season.

"Charlie, I expect, will continue to be here and carry out his responsibilities through the season," Belichick said.

Weis taught and coached high school for five years before taking an assistant's job at South Carolina for four seasons. He returned to coaching at high school for one year before joining the New York Giants' pro personnel department in 1989.

Weis was hired by the Giants as defensive assistant and assistant special teams coach in 1990, earning his first Super Bowl ring. When Ray Handley was named coach of the Giants in 1991, he named Weis running backs coach.

Weis worked for the Patriots from 1993-96, coaching tight ends, running backs and wide receivers. In 1997, Weis was hired by Jets coach Bill Parcells, who asked former New York Giants offensive coordinator Ron Erhardt to groom Weis as the Jets' offensive coordinator. In 1998, he was named Jets offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach.

He has been the Patriots offensive coordinator the past five seasons, earning two more Super Bowl rings.

He is credited with helping to develop quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Ben Coates, running back Curtis Martin, wide receiver Terry Glenn and former Notre Dame receiver David Givens.



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