Charlie Weis: Big Man On Campus

Steve Kroft Profiles Notre Dame's Head Coach

If one school defines college football in America, it's Notre Dame. It has the largest fan base in the country, and a pedigree that includes Rockne, the Four Horsemen, and some of the greatest coaches and players in history. But as correspondent Steve Kroft reports, 18 years have passed since its last national championship, and in 2004, after two miserable seasons, it turned to Charle Weis, an alumnus who never played football, to restore the glory. Any new coach at Notre Dame, automatically becomes a national figure. The only thing separating immortality from ignominy is winning. And the former offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots is off to a great start.

At 6'1" and 300 pounds, Weis has become the biggest man on campus, with a girth exceeded only by his oversized personality, which seems out of place at a school run by the Holy Cross Fathers.



Listen to Weis on the field and you'll hear expletives left and right. "Hey Brian, get the (expletive) off the field. You get off the field. You stay off the field," he yells.

"I consider myself brutally honest," Weis tells Kroft. "Whatever you have to do to get your point across, I make sure that I get my point across."

"I mean when I am not happy I make sure everyone around me feels the pressure," he explains.

Whoever it was that came up with the seven holy virtues obviously never coached football and certainly never spent a Saturday afternoon in Notre Dame Stadium.

So if Charlie Weis comes up a little bit short on self control, patience and humility, he's forgiven by the faithful – the fans.

In less than two years he has won 16 games and lost four, restoring credibility to the Notre Dame fight song and returning the team to the top ten. But it required a few adjustments.

"I mean you get some, you know, some obnoxious sarcastic guy from New Jersey coming in. And so it was quite a culture shock for the players," Weis says.

Asked how he changed the climate, Weis says, "I had to spend a good portion of time, you know, breaking 'em down before you could build 'em back up."

"How did you break 'em down? What do you mean break 'em down?" Kroft asks.

"I was unbearable," Weis replies. "And I was not a very, very nice guy."

What Weis saw was complacency: about winning, about going to class, and about living up to their potential. And no one was spared, not even all American quarterback Brady Quinn, who has blossomed under Weis and is one of this year's favorites to win the Heisman trophy.

Weis has called himself a jerk. When Kroft asks Quinn whether the coach is a jerk, Quinn says, "He could be a jerk – you know, I wouldn't say it to his face, but he could definitely be a jerk."

"What was his language like?" Kroft asks.

"I guess from what I understand it's New Jersey language, so I don't think that's necessarily something you could put on the air," he says.

And Weis has a special look that he gives to his players. "Yeah, I don't necessarily get as I think scared as other guys do, but he definitely can give a pretty devastating look," Quinn acknowledges.
  • Daniel Schorn

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