Greeson: Buyout looming for Weis

Greeson: Buyout looming for Weis

November 10th, 2009 by Jay Greeson in Sports

Memphis dismissed former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Clemson football coach Tommy West on Monday morning, and Western Kentucky fired David Elson. Apparently allowing Jonathan Crompton to throw five touchdown passes can be dangerous for your professional health.

Those two openings, though, are step-up jobs for either young head coaches at lower levels of college football or hot-shot coordinators.

No, the true silly-season spin comes if the whales -- the mega-jobs -- open up. The big ones that come with media deals and shoe contracts and all the bells and whistles.

After Navy humbled Notre Dame on Saturday for the second time in three years, there appears to be one of those monster jobs on the horizon. Irish coach Charlie Weis, who famously hung a banner that stated, "9-3 is not good enough," in the weight room after posting that mark in his first season in South Bend, is in hot water. The Irish would have to sweep their remaining three games, including two against ranked opponents, to be 9-3 again.

A Notre Dame loss Saturday at Pitt would leave Weis with a 35-25 career record -- the same numbers that got former Irish coach Bob Davie dismissed in 2001. Ironically, it would also leave Weis with an all-too-unimpressive .583 winning percentage that was not good enough for Tyrone Willingham in 2004.

Yes, Weis has a mega-contract that will require some buyout -- a number that ranges anywhere from $5 million to $21 million from various reports. But regardless of the cost, the biggest liability for any prime-time football program is apathy, and Weis's lackluster resume to this point screams of it.

Let's face it, if Auburn and Tennessee can part with roughly $6 million each for Tommy Tuberville and Phillip Fulmer not to coach, then Notre Dame can shake the offering plate a little and come up with whatever it takes to start over. Money aside, though, the first question any football program on any level should ask before making a coaching change is, "Who can we get that is better than what we have?"

The answers are difficult to obtain on the front end, and the investigation generally means raises for about a third of the big-name coaches in college football. Still, who can the Irish get that's better?

Florida coach Urban Meyer, who is eyeing his third national title in four years, said earlier in his career that Notre Dame was his dream job. Earlier this year, Meyer said, "I'm not going to Notre Dame. Ever." Whether he is definitely a possibility or definitely not possible, there is no doubt Meyer would be better than Weis.

Alabama coach Nick Saban, who has hopped to and fro during his uber-successful college career, appears to be happy with the rolling Crimson Tide. He also appeared to be happy at LSU. Would he leave Tuscaloosa for Notre Dame? Possibly. Is he better than Weis? You betcha.

Granted, Meyer and Saban are better than just about every other college football coach out there. But not every program seriously can throw around the names of the big boys, but this is Notre Dame, home of the Golden Dome and Touchdown Jesus and the Gipper and so much else.

Yes, around here we believe SEC football is the best -- and it is -- but Notre Dame is, well, Notre Dame, and if it calls, you better believe people will listen. And when people listen, good coaches get new jobs or raises. That's the coaching circle of livelihood.