In the process of announcing the dismissal of Charlie Weis as the head coach of Notre Dame on Monday, the University also announced that Rob Ianello “responsibility for football operations” effectively immediately. Ianello will serve in the same capacity for the Irish that Kent Baer did after the firing of Tyrone Willingham in 2004.
Ianello addressed the media Monday night after Jack Swarbrick explained the reasoning behind his recommendation to fire Weis. Here are some highlights.
- Ianello opened up by thanking Charlie Weis for the opportunity to work at Notre Dame for the past five years.
- He said that he feels strongly that a large group of the current commitments will keep their pledges and come to Notre Dame because they picked the school for the right reasons. Ianello said that anyone wavering at this point would probably have wavered even if the staff were coming back.
- Ianello and the rest of the staff will be working to secure all of the current commitments to Notre Dame as well as work on some of the recruits who are not committed. It sounds like the staff did an excellent job selling the University and not the coaching staff to these recruits and will continue to do that. For that, every Notre Dame fan owes the remaining assistants who will continue recruiting a big thank you.
- If the Irish decide to attend a bowl game, Ianello would serve as the interim coach just as Baer did for the 2004 Insight.com Bowl that Notre Dame lost 34-20 to Oregon State.
- Ianello’s role in the interim will be three fold. 1) Working with the current players to keep them on track academically and athletically (the team will continue working out as normal until a bowl game situation is decided). 2) Working on securing all of the current commitments. Seven of the coaches will be on the road recruiting the next couple days working on both committed and uncommitted recruits. 3) Helping out any of the other coaches, support staff, and administrative staff in the transition.
- Ianello stressed that his job in the interim will be to represent the school to both the current players and recruits. He stressed that Notre Dame is “about all the right things in college athletics, and that is why you should come to school here.”
- He talked about Weis meeting with two recruits after the home loss to UConn and how Weis stressed the same message to those recruits – that Notre Dame is a place you to go because of the school and what it stands for, not just the coaching staff.
- In talking about why recruits choose Notre Dame, Ianello said that recruits come to Notre Dame because: “You come to school here because everybody that comes here is going to get a degree. We graduate everyone that stays here. You’re going to play on college football’s biggest stage. You’re going to be on television 32 guaranteed times in your career before you ever set on campus here.”
- Ianello committed to Swarbrick and Notre Dame to do everything he can in the transition, but at the same time he will be aware of any possibilities for his future after Notre Dame. He said the rest of the staff would do the same. “This coaching staff is a very professional coaching staff, a very committed coaching staff, and they will certainly do the University right during this transition.”
- Weis hasn’t talked to any of the recruits since he has been let go.
- Ianello sat next to Charlie on the plane ride home from Stanford and exchanged text messages with him Sunday night. He also planned on calling Charlie and visiting with him Monday night.
- Weis advice for Ianello in his current role was to first and foremost take care of his family.
- The staff will be on the road making some in-home visits Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. They will regroup on Friday as a staff in preparation for the team banquet Friday night. They discuss bowl options and Notre Dame’s plans regarding participating in a bowl game then. If they decide to play in a bowl, they will set a practice schedule then.
UPDATE: Here’s some video of Ianello’s presser from Rivals.