Who is Coach Charlie Weis?

John ArmstrongCollege Football

Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis lost a lawsuit to a jury decision in Massachusetts a few months ago. The story might have passed by with little notice but I paid attention to it for several reasons, one being my love for college football and two my complete lack of respect for Charlie Weis as a coach. 

In 2002 Weis decided to have gastric bypass surgery. He weighed in excess of 350 pounds at the time. He was an offensive coach for the World Champion New England Patriots when he came to the end of a prolonged personal struggle by making the decision to have the  surgical procedure. (I do not criticize anyone who has this surgery at all. It is life-saving for many and may have been for Charlies Weis.) The sad fact, however, is that Charlie Weis chose not even to inform his wife until only days before the surgery. He did, however, share it with his quarterback, Tom Brady. This in itself tells you a lot about Charlie Weis I think. “Football first, family second” as Lindsey Willhite put it in my own local paper. What kind of husband and father doesn’t tell his wife and then presures the doctors in an inordinate way to fit his own time schedule (built around football) and then, when problems ensue, sues the physicians. 

The whole ordeal became public during the trial and it did not make Weis look very good at all. Weis said, after he lost his suit against two doctors, said: “I realized victory was a long shot but was still surprised with the verdict.” Surprised? When Weis had the surgery he demanded that the standard six-week pre-op period be waived. Why? It was summer and Weis did not want to miss anything related to football. Weis got his wish. He also got severe internal bleeding and spent two weeks in a coma. 

Weis fans will note, in defending him, that he planned to donate his monetary award to charity, had he won the trial. They will also note that he has a special needs child, Hannah, in whose name he would have given the award to a foundation that he established for her. He added, after this trial was all over, that he hoped his trial would raise awareness. “The verdict cost people with special needs some money.”

Really? Come on Charlie. You really did this for charity? Which coach are you? The one who pushed the limits and forced the surgeons to forego normal procedures or the one who told your wife at the last minute about a radical surgery that you had planned with your starting quarterback in the know. Who is this famous coach, Charlie Weis? The man of charity or the coach who sees himself as important and uses profanity so frequently that you can lip read him cursing every few seconds at any Notre Dame game. He is clearly not a good representative of a famous Catholic university at all, at least not in my view.

On top of all of this Weis is about to go 0-3 if he loses to Michigan this Saturday. The Golden Domers will not be too happy with this great coach, at least for a while. Sure makes you wonder, considering how they handled former coach Tyrone Willingham, his predecessor, who is now doing very well at Washington. Willingham was a class act, Weis is something else.