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Student Reaction: Students not surprised by firing

Madeline Buckley | Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The news of Irish football coach Charlie Weis’ firing spread fast across campus. For many students, like senior D.C. Smith, the reaction was simple: “Finally.”

“Everyone pretty much saw this coming. It was just a matter of time,” Smith said. “I don’t know what Notre Dame was thinking when they extended Weis’ contract so long in the first place.”

Watching four football seasons as a Notre Dame student, Smith said he saw a talented team wasted by poor coaching.

“Weis did well with [former coach Tyrone Willingham’s] people but he failed when he played with his own recruits,” he said. “But the team has talent.”

Junior Dashaun Gasque said Weis’ biggest handicap was his coaching on defense.

“He’s great offensively but I was disappointed in his defensive tactics this season,” Gasque said. “The last game proves that — the defense just wasn’t there.

“Weis would do better with an offensive coaching job. He’s just not a head coach.”

But Gasque said Weis is actually in an enviable position right now.

“He’s going to make millions getting fired,” he said. “I would like to get fired just to make that much money.”

Junior Maggie Waller said she almost felt bad for Weis, except for the fact that his termination will earn him millions.

“It’s terrible that we have to pay him so much,” she said. “His contract should never have been extended.”

Waller said she believes the downside of Weis being fired is the possibility that quarterback Jimmy Clausen and wide receiver Golden Tate, both juniors, will leave with Weis. 

“I’m nervous because I think this means Jimmy and Golden will leave,” she said. “I’ll cry if Golden leaves.”

Freshman Roberto Pellas said he thinks the University made a mistake in firing Charlie because he believes Clausen no longer has an incentive to stay another year.

“This is a huge mistake because Jimmy and Golden are behind him,” he said. “We will lose our star players which is disappointing because the team has a lot of talent.”

Freshman Neil Eveld said a coaching change is exactly what the football program needs, but the new coach should be chosen carefully.

“They finally fired Weis, but now we better get a big-name to replace him,” he said. “[University of Cincinnati head coach] Brian Kelly would be perfect.”

Junior Nathan Bush said he thinks people hoping for a big-name replacement will be disappointed.

“Someone like [Florida coach] Urban Meyer would be great, but he’s not going to leave his team,” he said.

After two disappointing football seasons from Weis, Bush said he had low expectations for this season — and those expectations were met.

“How many games were decided in the last two minutes?” Bush said. “This was a long time coming.”

After a couple mediocre seasons, junior Colleen Harris said she expected to hear Weis would not be retained after the Stanford game Saturday.

“All I can say is, he had two Navy losses,” she said.

Looking to the future, Waller said she believes the team’s performance next season depends on whether Tate and Clausen stay.

But Smith said he thinks next season hinges on the new coach’s chemistry with the team.

“We have a lot of talented players,” he said. “But Notre Dame is held in high esteem even when they lose, so they aren’t hungry enough.”

Smith said the next Irish head football coach’s challenge will be to motivate the players.

“At ND, the football team is really a business,” he said. “It’s not fun. A coach needs to make the game fun again.”