June 12, 2005
The Notre Dame Monogram Club recently held its annual June events – highlighted by the popular dinner held in the Joyce Center concourse on June 2. First-year Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis took time out of his busy schedule to visit with the dinner attendees before serving as the final speaker from the memorable night.
Excerpts of the comments from coach Weis are included below. Also be sure to check back to the Monogram Club page in the next few days for complete coverage of the June meeting events – including photos, the honorary monogram and the Moose Krause Award presentations, comments from Julie Doyle (the Monogram Club’s first female president) and biographical data on the five new members of the Monogram Club board of directors who will serve through 2008: Dr. Carol Lally-Shields (basketball, ’79), Barbara Mooney (softball, ’89), Dan Rahill (swimming, ’79), Frank Reynolds (football, ’59) and Jim Tyler (cross country, ’86). Katie Neff (volleyball ’04) also has joined the board and will serve out the term (to ’06) of Van Pearcy, who now serves as the Monogram Club secretary. Pearcy fills the spot held previously by Joe Restic, now the Monogram Club’s second vice-president while Marc Kelly has rotated into the first vice-president spot. All of the June meeting articles, photo galleries, etc. ultimately will be linked in one convenient posting on the official Monogram Club website (www.ndmonogramclub.com).
Monogram Club 2nd VP Joe Restic – son of legendary Harvard football coach Joe Restic, Sr. – was an Academic All-American and starting safety/punter on Notre Dame’s 1977 national championship team. He attended ND at the same time as Charlie Weis and had the honor of introducing the Irish football coach at the Monogram Club dinner.
Excerpts from Monogram Club second vice-president Joe Restic’s introduction of Charlie Weis:
“As many of you know, I had the opportunity to grow up in a football family. And when you grow up in that environment, you get to see your dad interact with the press, the players and the public on a day-to-day basis. I learned real quickly that football coaches are pretty good at judging other football coaches.
“When Charlie Weis was announced as the head football coach of this university, I got a call from my father and the first thing he said to me was that we hired a winner. That was the only thing that I needed to hear.
“Coach Weis graduated from this university in 1978 and immediately embarked on a career that has seen great success at the high school, college and professional levels. He is the proud owner of four Super Bowl rings, which will certainly open the eyes of many potential recruits who might attend this university. In terms of Xs and Os, he is considered an offensive genius, which is a prerequisite for success in college football as it is played today.
“The 1977 national championship football team, of which I am a proud member, has daily e-mail correspondence, and the interest, energy and enthusiasm that has been generated by that group over the past few months has been very encouraging. We all realize that the turnaround may not occur overnight, but I am encouraged by the direction that the football team appears to be headed. Please join me in welcoming the person who is responsible for the resurgence of Notre Dame football, coach Charlie Weis.”
Excerpts from comments made by Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis in addressing the Monogram Club dinner gathering (June, 2005):
“Thank you for having me here tonight. I know this is a very storied event. I’m here with Fr. Ted and Monk and all you monogram winners, some friends of mine when I was in school, Dr. White and his lovely wife Jane who have really taken me in to help my family have a better transition and kind of really looked out for me.
“I want to tell you a few of the things you can look for from me and my program. Honestly, this has been a very trying year for our football team. You go through a season that is 6-6 … You go through the transition of a football coach, a very popular guy who I think is a fine man. There’s the transition of bringing in a new guy who is still coaching in the NFL and trying to win a championship. And it worked out very favorably in the end. And you’re going through recruiting and everyone is talking about all the hours this guy is working. Well, let’s face it, there’s only 24 hours in a day. I’m no martyr. You did what you had to do and tried to do a good job. It wasn’t as tough as everyone was trying to make it out to be. … I didn’t play. You’re all monogram winners. You came here and were involved in sports here. I was just one of those guys second-guessing all those coaches.
“I remember one game my sophomore year when we lost to someone. … So I figured that I was going to call up and complain, I’m going to call up Father Hesburgh. I’m living in Flanner Hall and I dial his number. He answers the phone. My big mouth shut up in a hurry. `Well, who is this?’ So I said. `Well, this is Charlie Weis and I just wanted to complain about that game.’ `Good, come to my office.’ I didn’t know where his office was but I wasn’t looking forward to it. I remember walking over to the administration building where he worked at the time and said, `This is it. I’m packing my bags and going home, my parents are going to kill me.’ Thankfully, he just humiliated me and let me go on my way.
Charlie Weis and Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., were reunited at the 2005 Monogram Club dinner – nearly 30 years after the future Irish football coach had made a memorable visit to the office of the former Notre Dame president.
“I went through my four years at Notre Dame. I was a decent student and I had a lot of fun when I was in school and I really enjoyed my friends and a lot of them are still my friends. But the beauty of the whole thing is, as I listen to this docket tonight and we went through a number of people speaking, and you keep on hearing about their passion for Notre Dame and what they’ve done for Notre Dame. I kind of follow all the sports, I’m kind of a sports junkie myself. When I go into these young men’s house, sure I flash the Super Bowl ring because it gets their attention and I always say if I get them to look at my hand instead of my face I’ve got a good chance.
“When I talk to them about a Notre Dame education and the integrity and character of the program and of the University and talk about the football program, I hear all the excuses that we’ve made through years and years that the schedule is too tough and it’s too tough to get into school here. I can tell you that I feel great support from Dan Saracino, the director of admissions. I’ve had no problems. … Everyone always creates that as an adversarial relationship. But let’s think about it here, rather than complain about how hard it is to get into school here, why not play to that pro instead of that con and think if we get a bunch of smart guys that can do more and implement a system a little bit faster and do a little bit more Xs and Os when you only have a 20-hour week. And then take the flip side of that, everyone wants to take the other side, `Well, maybe he can get into USC but he can’t get into Notre Dame.’ Well, so what? There’s plenty of players out there that can read and write, that are good kids and of high character. The problem is that we have to go find them.
“One of the things that I do when I go into these schools – because you can’t talk to the kids – you can go into the school and have a presence and talk to their coaches, guidance counselors and principals. But I try to sell what Notre Dame stands for and I really believe from the bottom of my heart that having gone to Notre Dame gives me a huge edge … because I have a much clearer understanding. Nobody has to tell me what Notre Dame stands for. I did not play but I know what Notre Dame stands for. So, therefore, I kind of know the product that we are looking for. … One of the things I always remember hearing (Lou Holtz) say was that `I’m getting these young men ready for the next 40 or 50 years of their life, not the next four or five.’
“I tell these kids I graduated from Notre Dame, never played a down in any meaningful sport, coached in high school, coached in college, coached in the NFL and I’m the head football coach at Notre Dame. How do you figured that happened? And then I go on to say I was smart, I was hard-working and I have some ability but I’ve been humbled several times in my career by people who knew a lot more than I did. But I was willing to take some risks … and then when I had an opportunity, I seized it and didn’t mess it up. Trust me, when you’re working for some of the guys I’ve worked for … it’s a hard task. … I was well-schooled and groomed by the time I left (Bill Parcells’ staff) and moved on to (Bill Belichick’s staff).
“I learned some great things under those guys as coaches. But nowhere in there could I ever be in position to be the right guy for Notre Dame when they came calling if I wasn’t matriculated through this school. Because as I represent your wants and wishes, from the president, the A.D. and to everyone who played here, in any sport, you’re not the only ones that matter. How about the rest of the students that never played? They live and breathe Notre Dame football just like you do. It makes no difference whether they played or not.
“I’m just going to tell you a few simple points that you can count on with me. You are going to count on the same type of integrity and character that Notre Dame has stood for since I’ve known it. … The bottom line is that the reason they brought me in here is to have a Notre Dame guy that hopefully can put us in position to be a frontrunning program as far as wins and losses while maintaining the high character and integrity, do it as quickly as we can possibly get there and then stay there. … Get yourself as a top program year-in-year out, stay there and maintain it until the day you walk away from this University.
Charlie Weis shared a variety of serious and lighthearted comments with the gathering at the Monogram Club dinner.
“My family means more to me than football does and you don’t hear football coaches saying that too often. … I’m never going to be a failure in my personal aspect but my professional life has not been fulfilled. … I’m hoping that, 10 or 15 years from now, when I walk away from this university to go lay on a beach somewhere, I’m hoping that everyone in this room will say, `You know what, thank God we hired that guy.’ Because that will mean that all the things I stand for professionally have been accomplished. It means I will never slight the integrity of character of the University, I will never slight the academia portion of our University … and we won a bunch of games in the process. Because let’s face it, that’s part of the path.
“I always aspire to win every game. I never go into a game where I expect to lose, I don’t care who we’re playing. I never go into a game unprepared, thinking that we don’t have a chance to win it because – if I did – I’m a loser.
“I’ve learned to be fairly thick-skinned. So as you hear what I stand for and hear what I’m hoping for, I truly hope that when I walk away from the University, you all can remember when I spoke to you this evening and say, `He said that was his goal professionally in life.’ It isn’t about how many wins … or how many national championships we are into position to win and/or win. It’s the fact that the people that represent this University know that when they took a chance and hired a guy who hadn’t been a head coach, they hired the right guy.”