Charlie Weis – Head Coach

Charlie Weis - Notre Dame Head CoachYears Coaching: 27 | With Notre Dame: 3rd
Previous Job: Offensive Coordinator | New England Patriots (NFL) | 2000-2004
School: Notre Dame
Major: Speech and Drama
Born: Mar 30, 1956
Hometown: Trenton, New Jersey


Weis was born in Trenton, New Jersey on March 30, 1956. Weis attended the University of Notre Dame after graduating from Middlesex High School in New Jersey. While Weis played football in high school he did not continue his football playing at the Notre Dame. He graduated in 1978 with a degree in speech and drama. Weis went on to earn a masters degree from South Carolina while he was coached there in 1989 and to Notre Dame fans delight it was a real masters degree unlike one former short tenured coach under the Dome. Along with his wife Maura, Charlie formed the Hannah & Friends Foundation in 2003. The foundation benefits children with developmental disorders. The first Hannah & Friends Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament was held in 2004. To donate to the Hannah & Friends Foundation visit their site (link).

CAREER SUMMARY: Notre Dame Career

Weis arrived at Notre Dame in December 2005, after the Irish had just completed a 6-5 regular season under the guidance of then coach Tyrone Willingham. The less than stellar campaign, combined with a 5-7 mark the year before as well as some of the worst recruiting Notre Dame has ever seen was enough to cause Notre Dame to make a change. Despite great success from “Sunday to Friday” according to Athletic Director Kevin White, Willingham was let go and after a rather public courting of Urban Meyer, Notre Dame hired Weis on December 12.


Charlie Weis was embraced by the Notre Dame community because of his almuni status and tough talk about returning the program to the status it had seen in the past glory years. His head coaching career started off with a resounding 42-21 victory over the favored Pitt Panthers on the road in front of a nationally televised audience on ABC. Another upset win a week later over the heavily favored #3 ranked Michigan Wolverines on the road made Weis only the second coach in Notre Dame history to win his first two games on the road to start his career. The other was Knute Rockne. The resurgence in 2005 was due in large part to Weis’s high octane offense which began racking up records left and right behind the arm of Brady Quinn.

During the 2005 season, Brady Quinn ran Weis’s offense better than anyone could have expected en route to a then school record 32 touchdowns passes to just 7 interceptions. Quinn’s favorite target, Jeff Samardzija went from an unknown to All American status with a 15 touchdown, 1,249 (both Notre Dame records) breakout performance.

The high point of the 2005 season came on October 15 when the #1 ranked USC Trojans came to town riding a 27 game winning streak. The Trojans had also beat the Irish by a combined 93 points in the previous three meetings as well. The game would end up being a true “Instant Classic.” A Brady Quinn touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining gave the Irish a 31-28 lead, but a miraculous 4th and 9 pass from Matt Leinart to Dwayne Jarrett went for 60 yards to set up USC’s eventual game winning touchdown with only 3 seconds remaining. The game was enough to get every Notre Dame fan believing that a national championship in the next few seasons was now a real possibility. It was also enough to get Charlie Weis a 10 year contract extension worth a reported $40 million.

Notre Dame would finish the regular season 9-2 and earn a spot in the Fiesta Bowl – the first BCS trip for the Irish since the 2000 season. Ohio State’s speed on offense proved to be too much for Notre Dame, but a 9-3 record in Weis’s first year had the Irish as one of the early favorites for the 2006 National Champion.


After his successful opening season, Weis’s Irish came into the 2006 season with nine returning starters on offense and a #2 overall ranking. A close 14-10 win on the road against an aggressive Georgia Tech defense dampened excitement a little, but a 41-17 blowout of Penn State the following week set up a showdown with rival Michigan in week 3. All week long Weis preached that this was “just another game” for his sqaud. Unfortunately it was not “just another game” for the Wolverines who came out inspired and took it to Notre Dame early. The Irish simply could not match the intensity Michigan brought with them to South Bend and those national titles hopes that just a week earlier seemed within grasp, almost completely vanished.

Notre Dame finished the season 10-3 with thrilling comeback victories over Michigan State and UCLA as well as a few crushing defeats at the hands of USC and LSU. The season we good enough to earn the Irish a berth in the Sugar Bowl, however, where LSU dismantled the Irish 41-14.


Despite back to back BCS seasons, expectations were low for Notre Dame and Weis in year three due huge personnel losses from the graduations of Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija, Rhema McKnight, Ryan Harris, Victor Abiamiri, and others from a strong senior class. Even with the low expectations, no one expected as much futility from the Irish as we saw. Notre Dame managed just three wins in 2007 against the likes of UCLA, Air Force, and Stanford. Notre Dame’s NCAA record 43 game winning streak over Navy was snapped in an overtime thriller. In post game comments, Weis down played the importance of the streak which drew criticism from all over the Notre Dame blogosphere.

A combination of factors resulted in Notre Dame’s historically bad season in Charlie Weis’s third season. Poor recruiting from the previous regime created an extremely thin upper class that was also short on talent. Compounding those matters were Weis’s decision to install portions of the spread offense for Demetrius Jones, who started the year as the starting quarterback. After being replaced by Jimmy Clausen in week 2, Jones decided to transfer and all of those plays essentially had to be scrapped since neither Clausen or backup Evan Sharpley could run them.

After the 2007 season, Weis announced that he will be giving up play calling duties to offensive coordinator Mike Haywood in an attempt to spent more time with the entire team and more more a head coach as opposed to just the offensive coordinator. Weis also announced that he will be working extensively with the special teams along with Brian Polian to help fix a special teams unit that has been anything but special over the last two seasons.


2005: Despite not playing collegiate or professional football, Charlie Weis has enjoyed an excellent coaching career that has spanned almost three decades. Weis has not been a head coach at the collegiate or professional ranks, but has coached under a couple of NFL greats in Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick while coaching for the Giants, Jets, and Patriots. Under the tutelage of these two, Weis has been a part of 3 team Super Bowl winning teams (Giants in 1990 and Patriots in 2001 & 2003). Charlie is generally considered to have one of the best offensive minds in all of football.

His coaching career started in 1979 at Boonton High School in New Jersey where he served as an assistant coach. The following season he moved on to Morristown High School where he spent five seasons as an assistant coach. In 1986 he got his first college coaching job on Joe Morrison’s staff at South Carolina. While at South Carolina he worked with the linebackers and defensive backs as a graduate assistant. Weis returned to New Jersey High School football as head coach at Franklin Township in 1989. In his only season at Franklin Township, Weis lead his team to a state championship.

In 1990, Weis got his big break when Bill Parcells added him to his staff on the New York Giants as a defense and special teams assistant. In that first year in the NFL the Giants won the Super Bowl when Scott Norwood missed that famous kick giving the Giants the win. The next two season Weis spent coaching running backs for the GMen under Ray Handley who took over for Parcells who retired after the Super Bowl win.

Weis found himself coaching with Bill Parcells once again in 1993 when Weis joined Parcells on the New England Patriots staff as the tight ends coach. While serving under Parcells in New England, Charlie coached tight ends in 1993 and 1994, running backs in 1995, and wide receivers in 1996. While coaching tight ends, Ben Coates caught 96 passes – an NFL record for tight ends. In ’95 while coaching the running backs, Weis helped develop a 3rd round draft pick by the name of Curtis Martin. Martin won Rookie of the Year honors with 1,487 yards and 14 TDs and just recently moved into 4th all time on the NFL rushing list. Then, in 1996, Weis moved on to wide receivers and coached rookie Terry Glenn to 90 catches, another NFL record.

In 1997, Weis followed Parcells to New York where he served as the wide receivers coach for the Jets. After one season as wide receivers coach, Weis was named offensive coordinator and the Jets offensive flourished. In 1998 the Jets came 3 points and 11.3 yards/game shy of setting a franchise records for points in a season and yards per game. Under his guidance, Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet both went over 1,000 yards for the first time in their careers. While coaching with Parcells and defensive coordinator Bill Belichick, the Jets improved from 1-15 in 1996 to 9-7 in their first year on the job. By 1998, the Jets were 12-4 and made it to the AFC Championship before losing to the Broncos.

2000 saw Weis return to the Patriots on Bill Belichick’s staff as the offensive coordinator. Since then, the Patriots have won 2 Super Bowls and are considered one of the elite in the NFL after our favorite rival coach Pete Carrol failed to have much success there.

Weis has not limited himself only to being the offensive coordinator however. Since returning to the Patriots he has also coached wide receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks. In 2001 Weis took on the quarterback duties as well as being offensive coordinator. In 2001, Weis helped developed a 2nd year 6th round draft pick named Tom Brady. Brady was forced into the starting role when Drew Bledsoe got injured in the 2nd week. Brady went on to start the rest of the season and was named Super Bowl MVP. Brady has since blossomed into one of the elite NFL quarterbacks and has won two (2) Super Bowl MVPs (2001, 2003).

Brady is not the only low round draft pick to excel under Weis coaching. Former Golden Domer David Givens, a 6th round draft pick, has developed into one of the best receivers on the Patriots and lead the team with 6 touchdowns in 2003. Givens also lead the Patriots in receptions in 2004 with 56 for 874 yards. Givens also had a touchdown in the Super Bowl win over Carolina. Givens joined Troy Brown and David Patten whose careers experienced comebacks while playing under Weis. 2002 2nd round pick Deion Branch has also developed into a very capable NFL receiver under Weis. Branch’s 57 catches in 2002 lead the Patriots. In 2004, Weis showed that his offensive are not just pass happy with Corey Dillon rushing for 1635 yards and 12 touchdowns – both career highs.


Charlie Weis Career Stats

Year Team Position Result
1979 Boonton High School (New Jersey) Assistant Coach n/a
1980 Morristown High School (New Jersey) Assistant Coach n/a
1981 Morristown High School (New Jersey) Assistant Coach n/a
1982 Morristown High School (New Jersey) Assistant Coach n/a
1983 Morristown High School (New Jersey) Assistant Coach n/a
1984 Morristown High School (New Jersey) Assistant Coach n/a
1985 South Carolina Graduate Assistant Coach/Defensive Backs (5-6)
1986 South Carolina Assistant Coach/Linebackers (3-6)
1987 South Carolina Volunteer Coach/Defensive Ends (8-4, Gator Bowl – L 30-13)
1988 South Carolina Assistant Recruiting Coordinator (8-4, Liberty Bowl – L 34-10)
1989 Franklin Township High School (New Jersey) Head Coach State Championship
1990 New York Giants Def. Assistant, Asst. Special Teams (13-3, Super Bowl champion)
1991 New York Giants Running Backs (8-8)
1992 New York Giants Running Backs (6-10)
1993 New England Patriots Tight Ends (5-11)
1994 New England Patriots Tight Ends (10-6, Wild Card loser)
1995 New England Patriots Running Backs (6-10)
1996 New England Patriots Wide Receivers (11-5, lost Super Bowl)
1997 New York Jets Wide Receivers (9-7)
1998 New York Jets Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers (12-4, lost AFC title game)
1999 New York Jets Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers (8-8)
2000 New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs (5-11)
2001 New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Running Backs (11-5, Super Bowl champion)
2002 New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (9-7)
2003 New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator (14-2, Super Bowl champion)
2004 New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator (14-2, Super Bowl champion)
2005 Notre Dame Head Coach (9-3, Fiesta Bowl – L 34-20)
2006 Notre Dame Head Coach (10-3, Sugar Bowl – L 41-14)
2007 Notre Dame Head Coach (3-9, No Bowl)