"I know why you're here," he says.
The natural response: Why?
"To see if I'm human," he replies.
Here he is, everyone. Charlie Weis: the most hated man in college sports.
From his arrogance to his controversial hiring at Notre Dame, to a contract extension seven games into his first season, to a third season that was the most humiliating at Notre Dame in decades.
Charlie Weis doesn't do the media. Never has, maybe never will again. You see him on the dais in those staged news conferences with a pressed white shirt, blue and gold tie and ND logos adorning the background. It's questions and answers and X's and O's, and he -- like nearly every other coach in every other sport -- has complete control.
Now it's Charlie Weis unplugged on a two-day booster tour. He has nowhere to go and no public relations people. And no excuses.
It's raw, it's honest, it's compelling. And maybe, just maybe, Charlie Weis isn't the man you think he is. The father, the philanthropist, the friend. The guy from the Jersey Shore who married a Jersey girl and just happens to coach the highest-profile sports team in any league at any level.
"The biggest problem I have," Weis says, "is people who don't know me, who have never spoken to me, think I'm an asshole."
And so it begins. A wise man once said life is all about the journey. Yeah? Let him take a few spins in Weis' seat. Gut checks and gut punches. Unrestrained joy and unfathomable sorrow. A life only few could imagine and life tests few can comprehend.
Weis is the first to admit he has made mistakes. And you know what? He's going to make more -- just like everyone else. How fitting, then, that the lowest point of his professional career might be, for him, the beginning of figuring out the good and bad of the beast that is coaching Notre Dame. A 3-9 season, including a loss to Air Force and the first loss to Navy in 44 years, offered the perfect pause. For the first time since Weis stepped on campus in South Bend, for the first time since he accepted the job after the unpopular firing of Tyrone Willingham and the publicly failed courtship of Urban Meyer, he had a chance to step back and assess his program.
A series of disconnects — from performance on the field to perceptions off it — had been overshadowed by the daily grind of playing and recruiting and trying to get better. Only after the program's worst season since 1963, only after some serious soul searching, did the scope of it clearly come into focus.
And only now, for the first time, we see the real Charlie Weis. All the warts — and, yes, all the beauty.
"My problem is not scrutiny as a coach, it's scrutiny as a person," Weis says. "Character is important to me. Almost to a person, when people meet me, it's completely 180 degrees different from what they thought. They look at me like they can't believe it. So where is the miscommunication?
"I have to be part of the problem."
Yeah, that Jon Bon Jovi.
"You hear what I'm listening to?" Weis says, the strains of "It's My Life" booming through the speakers of his Cadillac Escalade.
Better stand tall when they're calling you out;
Don't bend, don't break, baby, don't back down.
"Should the casual observer stereotype him, it would be easy to assume that this larger than life flattop with the patience of a grenade could take his whistle and ... does that fit the profile?" Bon Jovi says. "The Charlie Weis I know loves his friends, loves his family and really loves his job. That says more to me than anything else."
Brian Kelly hasn’t been comfortable naming a starting quarterback after the unexpected exit of Everett Golson, but Keith Arnold writes that Kelly has made a final decision and Tommy Rees will be the Irish starting quarterback, at least heading into fall camp.
Notre Dame's 2012 season
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2012 Notre Dame opponents
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