Why Did Charlie Weis Gut the football Program?

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 wrote something a lot of board rats including me probably wonder about. He wrote, “Charlie Weis absolutely gutted this program.” It provoked a question I don’t have an answer for, so I am posing it to the board.

    Why did Charlie Weis gut the program, and why was he allowed to?

    What was Sheahon Zenger thinking?

    Why put a guy in charge that would gut it?

    And if he didn’t recognize that Weis would do it, why did he let him once he started gutting It?

    What was there to be gained from letting Charlie Weis gut the program?

  • It wasn’t like Weiss intentionally gutted it.

    Zenger was looking for a quick fix and he found a supposed offensive genius Weiss with two upper classmen 5-star QBs (Crist and Heaps). That was about as far as the plan went.

  • @DanR

    Then why wasn’t Weis fired after the first season, when it was crystal clear shit canning 30% of a team already starting from scratch was gutting the team and creating a long term rebuild? Why let him then load up with useless short term jucos that could only make it worse? And if he could not tell until two years that gutting was accidentally occurring, why did he ever undertake such a hopeless short term approach in the first place, when his mentor was mister long term approach Bill Snyder?

    Hypothesis: Zenger was intentionally using Weis as a broom to gut the program.

    But the real question is why did he need to Broom it a second time, after Gill had broomed it too? No one has ever accused Gill of being any thing but a strait shooting fundamentalist Christian, so why two consecutive guttings?

    What was so toxic in the football program that two straight brooms were required to clean out KU FOOTBALL?

    What was REALLY going on?

  • Zenger hired Weis. It was a horrible hire. If Beaty don’t turn this thing around, meaning .500 in 2017-18, then Zenger has to be fired. This is Zenger’s fault. His job was to pick the right person to move on after Gill. Instead, the program got worse. That’s is complete failure.

    I am embarrassed about our football program, like many others. But I’m also pretty mad about it. This is our program.

    I guarantee you this … if Bill Self were hired as our football coach when Weis was hired, we’d have a much better program right now.

  • @jaybate-1.0 First, let me say flat out that Charlie Weis did not intend to gut the program and anybody who thinks otherwise is an idiot.

    My opinion on what happened with Charlie Weis is that he laid out his 5 year plan in his introductory press conference and didn’t follow through with that plan. The plan Weis laid out was to heavily recruit JuCo’s in his first couple of classes and transition to being more focused on HS recruits to develop. The reason Weis did this was to make up the gap from the players he dismissed from Gill’s teams. A lot of the players were behavioral and supposed a lot of academic issues as well. IMO, the only mistake Weis made when dumping talent was getting rid of players who didn’t fit his system like Jordan Webb. This is where the depth was truly hurt. That said, there was progress from year 1 to year 2 as KU went from 1 win to 3 wins. After year 2 is where the biggest problem really started and why Charlie bombed so miserably in year 3. He abandoned his system when he hired John Reagan to change from the pro style to a generic version of the spread. That switch is what 100% doomed Charlie Weis and KU last year and made Zenger have to push the reset button again on KU football. I realize that Charlie was never going to get KU past 6-6 at best, but when he suddenly pulled a complete 180 on his approach, that’s when he absolutely had to go. People complained at KU’s statistical rankings in terms of where KU ranked and with a pro style offense, but you’re never going to be a highly ranked offense running that system (yards or points) and Weis let those numbers cloud his judgement to switch to an offense he wasn’t very familiar with and that decision is what ultimately turned KU from a struggling program into a dumpster fire.

    As for why Zenger didn’t immediately pass on Weis because of the JuCo approach, that was how Snyder built KSU and that strategy didn’t really pay off until year 5 for Snyder so Charlie’s initial plan wasn’t one that should have raised red flags. As bad as KU was under Gill, it also wasn’t realistic to expect Charlie’s pro style to really pay off right away even with the JuCo recruits immediately. So basically, the biggest red flag Weis raised was him abandoning his philosophy and bringing in John Reagan and that experiment lasted all of 4 games before Zenger had enough.

    So while Charlie Weis was never a good hire IMO, Zenger let it play out as long as he should have before pulling the trigger based on the on field results. The decision to hire Weis is one that didn’t sit well with a lot of people and there was a negative bias before Weis ever coached his first game that clouded a lot of people’s judgement. I personally was a fan of the his hiring, but I at least gave Charlie a chance to implement his plan, but when he bailed on that plan, that’s was the final straw for even his strongest backers.

  • @jaybate-1.0 KU football wasn’t exactly winning rings when Weis took over either. I really dont care about football, pro or college, but one could say that Mangino gutted the team just as easily I think. He didnt leave much for his successor, whose name escapes me now, to work with either.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 Call me simple minded (or an idiot) here, but when Weis purposefully and as part of his plan “dismissed” a bunch of Gill’s players, or when he was “dumping talent”, might that be analogous to “gut(ting) the program”?

    Just curious.

  • @HighEliteMajor No it’s not the same. There’s a difference between implenting rules and dismissing players who don’t follow the rules and were major academic risks than kicking players off because they didn’t his vision. You could probably count on one hand the number of players who left because they didn’t fit the system with Jordan Webb being the primary person of that group. Most of the players Weis ran were upperclassmen who were Mangino recruits. These were the players that took full advantage of the freedoms Gill gabe them after being there under Mangino’s dictatorship. Gill is a man that’s all about personal accountability and that wasn’t what KU needed post Mangino and the players that were still around took full advantage of that by skipping classes and other stupid stuff and when Weis instilled his system, a lot of Mangino’s players weren’t able to meet those expectations in or out of the classroom and suffered the consequences of their actions. Weis did welcome back multiple players with academic issues once they got their academics in order so he wasn’t running off these players specifically because they were Gill players.

    The bulk of Gill players that Weis let go of were in the 2011 recruiting class that decommitted after Weis took over because they didn’t fit the system Weis ran. The most notable of these recruits was current Baylor starting QB Seth Russell.

    So again, it was not an intentional gutting and Weis didn’t care if the player was originally a Mangino or Gill recruit. If that person didn’t meet the expectations Weis layed out from day 1, he ran them and there were a lot of people who didn’t meet those expectations because of Gill’s philosophy being such a bad for for KU at that time.

  • Given what we now know about the New England Patriots and Spygate I think a fair question to ask is this - how good a football coach is Charlie Weis?

    Weis’ grand success with the Patriots came from 2000-2004, the height of the Spygate era when the Pats allegedly had tapes of 40 games worth of defensive signals. Weis was calling plays while knowing what the defense was running.

    It should be noted that Weis was not thought of as any offensive genius to this point in his coaching career. Weis had overseen some success, but nothing on the scale of what the Patriots accomplished during Spygate.

    I guess what I’m saying is this - without the spying, is Charlie Weis even thought of as a candidate for the Notre Dame job? Does he even get an interview?

    Looking back, knowing what we know now, I don’t think Charlie Weis was the brilliant offensive mind that we were told he was. I think he was a average to slightly above average position coach that landed in a great situation in New England, gained a tactical advantage from the spying that was done and has used that to advance an otherwise average career.

    Weis was a below average recruiter. We knew that when he was hired. But if it turns out that he was a fairly average tactician as well, that just so happened to have the best four years of his career when he knew what the defense was running 75% of the time, well, guess what folks, we were frauded. Simply put, KU and Notre Dame paid Charlie Weis over $50m over the last 10 years because Bill Belichick cheated.

  • @Lulufulu : No way did Mangino gut the program. When Perkins issued the APB for anyone, anywhere at any time who had a problem with the coach to contact the AD and tell their story, the witchhunt was in full fury. When Mangino left, potential recruits who were still considering KU went elsewhere; that included a 4-star LB who, remarkably, to my mind, had been considering both KU and LSU; obviously, he went to LSU. Gutting a program indicates deliberate cutting of personnel. Likely, Weis was not intentionally gutting, but he was intentionally changing the direction, and the program was vulnerable right at that point. I think @Texas Hawk 10 makes a good point that changing offensive philosophy got Weis the ax.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10


    Help me here.

    If all he had to do was stick with his plan and his offense and slowly improve Snyder style to keep collecting millions for his wife’s old age and avoid leaving the game a complete disgrace, why did he change and why did Zenger not shit can him for changing? Why let him completely wreck the plan?

    Do you think that anyone that thinks this was simply a comedy or tragedy of errors maybe having a psychotic break! 😉

  • What I heard from a booster with very good connections to the athletic program is that players left for several reasons. Some left because the new style of play did not fit their game, Jordan Webb being the best know, others were nudged out because their future with the program was not good and a third and larger group of players was dismissed because of serious academic and off-the-field issues. As I understand, the academic level of the program had dropped so much due to the lax atmosphere under Gill, that it was in danger of triggering a NCAA investigation and the damage needed to be contained. It is the proverbial choice to either cut your arm and have a chance of making it or not cut it and likely face a slow and certain death.

    I do not have any published source or sources to cite, only small snippets here and there and the anecdotal evidence mentioned above. I don’t know for a fact if this is what and how it actually happened but it does seem to make some sense. You can draw your own conclusions.

  • @justanotherfan

    It was somewhat obvious he was a mediocre talent as a head coach, when he was .500 at ND and no pros wanted him for a head coach. He appears to have been a broom. But why were two consecutive brooms needed? That was a conspicuous anomaly

  • @Lulufulu

    I never had a bone to pick with running Mangino, because of the grounds reputed for his dismissal. But his record his last season was significantly better them either Gil, or Weiss. So: I am not sure you could make a credible case Mangino gutted the program on the order of what Weis did. Not even sure what Gill did equates with Weis.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    You give a good explanation of why Gill was dumped, but that raises the flag even more about why Weis was hired. Was he a broom?

  • @jaybate-1.0

    A damn expensive one if that is what he was brought in to do…

  • I find it curious that Snyder seems to be mentioned in every football thread.

  • @jaybate-1.0 There’s never a guarantee of success, you know this. Weis may not have succeeded had he stuck with his plan (there’s certainly plenty of evidence to support this viewpoint), but abandoning it did guarantee failure and Weis lasted all of 4 games after he bailed on his plan so Zenger really didn’t show much patience with Weis once he changed paths.

  • @DoubleClutch WHY?

    I would find it curious if he were not mentioned. He’s a perfect example of what we need. He’s a tireless, hardworking, family oriented, genius football mind. He took over a program that is representative of what ours is becoming. We’re not THE worst program in the history of college football, but we’re damn close. And seemingly not making any strides to turn it around. When I look at our schedule for the remainder of this year, I see ONE game that I personally think we MAYBE could win, and the only reason I say that is because I don’t know one damn thing about Rutgers. If they beat us, it’s a big ol fat goose egg for this season.

    A Snyder like find is our only hope. Could Beaty be the guy? We’ll know five years from now, if he lasts that long.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    But there are many ways to guaranty failure. You know this.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    In this era, it might be very expensive to hire a broom, if what had to be done involved gutting a program in a way that effectively wrecked one’s ability to be hired. No promising young coach like Beaty would have wanted to be the broom. A coach at the butt end of a career would be needed, but how many butt-enders want to disgrace themselves on the way out? Only ones paid handsomely it would seem. I saw a broom once in another field. He was paid handsomely to clean house, resign and disappear.

  • @justanotherfan

    I also wanted to say you wrote the best post on Weis I have ever read. Thanks.

  • @DoubleClutch

    I don’t find it curious. He is a great coach that turned around arguably the worst football program in history. One of his disciples, Mangino, turned our program around before running into troubles. Another of his disciples was hired AD to put our program back on track. Why wouldn’t board rats talk about Snyder?

  • @jaybate-1.0 And Weis did one of those things that guaranteed failure and he failed faster than my Astros have blown their lead in the AL west this month.

    And should Beaty abandon his plan for KU football after 2 years, he’ll be a guaranteed failure here as well and it will be time to moce on from him.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 We lived in Houston for about 9 years and went to LOTS of Astros games! Of course, back in the late 70’s, early 80’s it was relatively inexpensive to do so. But we had so much fun and it seemed like the ‘Dome was always packed. They had some great players, great teams back then. And one thing I remember, almost 40 years later, was the familiar sound of one of the beer vendors’ thundering voice that seemingly carried throughout the whole building “BEER HERE.! GET YER COLD BEER HERE! COLDEST FOAM IN THE 'DOME!!”

    Good times!

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    Sorry, I don’t follow the Astros. But teams either blow hot and then cold, or vice versa. It is playing to one’s average. If they aren’t talented enough, or mature enough, they blow so cold they lose their leads and are beaten out.

    Same with coaches. Same with every profession.

    But Coach Weis did not blow hot and then cold.

    He just blew cold.

    But he did start out with one plan that was sure to broom out much of what he inherited and likely to take a long time to work, say, like the length of time Zenger’s mentor, Snyder, once took. But then he anomalously junked it, and tried something with an even higher improbability of success, and one sure to leave a replacement with many fewer players on four year trajectories, i.e., with large numbers that would be shortly gone when he moved on.


  • @jaybate-1.0

    Charlie Weis gutted the program for a handful of reasons.

    1. There were some academic/behavior issues that needed to be cleaned out after Gill left. This is the case in almost every coaching change. Several players, usually between 5-15 will need to be moved out for various off the field issues. Weis took it to the extreme and booted nearly 20 guys.
    1. Style - Weis wanted to run a pro-set offense, where Gill had been putting together a power run offense. By hiring a coach with a polar opposite approach and gameplan, particularly on the offensive side, Weis was given a team of square pegs for his gameplan of round holes.

    2. Timing - being at the end of his career, Weis wasn’t coming for an extended rebuild. He wanted to come to KU, get to a bowl within three years, then leave for a better job at a powerhouse. However, the KU job was a five year project by that time. It was probably a three or four year project when Gill took over, but his short stint added another year to that timeline because of the lost recruiting class after his firing.

    Those factors meant that KU ended up with a lot of short term fixes, first to fill holes left by the departures, then to artificially prop up the team for what Weis hoped would be a quick reboot. Most of those short term fixes left last year. Additionally, many of Gill’s strongest recruits finished their careers last year - it’s forgotten that Gill’s first class was a pretty solid group considering he came in late in the year. Tony Pierson, Dexter McDonald, Jacory Shepherd, Brandon Bourbon, Victor Simmons, Ben Heeney, Taylor Cox, Jimmay Mundine, Michael Reynolds, etc. That’s a list of many of the productive players under Weis. All guys that played as freshmen and sophomores under Gill.

    Other than transfers and juco guys, Weis didn’t have those types of players. There ae currently over 40 transfers on the roster. There should never be more than 30 on a good roster because too many transfers means too many players graduating at the same time. There are just 16 sophomores on the roster. There are 37 juniors. That means that at the end of next year, 37 of the guys currently on the roster will exhaust their eligibility. You can only sign 25 guys per year. After next season, we will be down on personnel no matter how well Beaty recruits. That’s on Weis for loading up on short term guys because he never intended to stay at KU past next season.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I don’t know. I thinks it is just a part of KSU alum Zenger grand plan to destroy KU sports. He started with football program, the women’s basketball program is also getting worse, and now he is taking on the basketball program by partnering with TWC and depriving KU basketball fan all over of several games evry season. Luckily, he does not have the gravitas or the balls to take on Self directly as he would be run out of town on a rail

    It must kill him to see the women’s volleyball program doing well this year and that National Track championship must have given him fits for months.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I don’t care if it’s jest or not, just drop the whole Zenger intentionally sabotaging KU athletics bit. It’s old, tiresome, and holds no weigjt whatsoever. Zenger has more degrees from KU than he does KSU. He also raised the money to fire Gill after year 2 when nobody thought he’d be able to raise the money until after year 3 or 4. He also worked out the deal for Rock Chalk Park where KU didn’t have to pay for the facilities and got top notch facilities for 3 programs at KU that desperately needed new homes. KUAD is in a better place overall today than they were when Zenger was hired.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    “Why Did Charlie Weis Gut the football Program?”

    So he would look like the right candidate for the new HC job opening up with the Chiefs!

    ha… couldn’t resist.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    Wow dude, CHILL!!!

    My post was partly in jest and partly based on fact. You mentioned the New Rock Chalk Park and there is a lot more to that story that has been keep quiet and than some posters in this Forum are aware. There is a lot of controversy about why it was built at a location so far removed from Campus when space was available on the West Campus and right next door to the Main Campus? Do a search on the Lawrence Journal website and you will be seriously surprised by the shenanigans that went on; I know I was when another member brought it to my attention.

    Raising money to fire Gill was not an issue or difficult to do since boosters and donors were happy to see Gill gone. Hiring Weiss seems to have been a big mistake.

    Obviously, you don’t live in the KC Metro area, if you would you would know that there is a huge number of KU fans that are extremely upset with the contract with TWC, KU got no money from TWC, let me repeat it… KU GOT NO MONEY FROM TWC, it got “programming in kind” that includes the lesser sports at KU, such the women’s rowing team that have minuscule audiences and generate no money whatsoever and they only exist because of Title IX.

    You know how bad the contract is? Only TWC and Comcast carry Metro Sports. all the other providers including ATT, Consolidated Communication/SureWest , Google Fiber which serve the majority of the Kansas side of the Metro Area do not carry Metro Sports. ESPN3 that carries the KU programming is blacked out for the entire State of Kansas and the KC Metro area, not only for selected KU men’s basketball and football games but also for women’s basketball and volleyball games.

    From my home in Olathe, Kansas, I can watch every football and basketball game KSU and MU and even Kentucky play but I cannot do the same for KU games…I ask you…do you really think that this is a good contract? Do you believe that alienating the fan base in the KC Metro Area, the largest KU fan base in the country, and a lot of the state. is a good way to do business? I certainly don’t

    There are two sports that generate the bulk of revenues and support in Division I sports: football and men’s basketball; without these two programs, none of the others exist. Why do you think is good policy to alienate the fans of the cash-cow programs to enhance the others? I don’t have a problem supporting and enhancing the other programs but not a the expense of the ones that make the others possible.

    Again, if you were in the KC Metro area you would not find many Zenger fans and most KU fans want him gone.; I know I do.

    So, don’t ask me to drop my criticism of Zenger and I will not ask that you quit defending him.

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