Jan. 1, 2006
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis has been named the winner of the 2005 FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, which is sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
The 49-year-old Weis, in his first season in South Bend, turned around Notre Dame in astonishing fashion in 2005 after leaving the coaching staff of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Weiss took basically the talent of a year ago (6-6), installed his offensive system, and fashioned a 9-2 record that landed the Fighting Irish in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. One of the Fighting Irish losses was a last-second defeat to defending national champion USC.
There was a little doubt from the beginning of the 2005 season things would be different under Weis. With victories at Pittsburgh and Michigan to open the season, Weis became the first Irish head coach to win his first two career games on opponents’ home fields since Knute Rockne in 1918.
Weis, a 1978 Notre Dame graduate, made the Fighting Irish the most prolific scoring team in modern school history (38.1 ppg) and qualified the Irish as the most improved offensive team in the country with 489 yards a game — 143.6 more than the 2004 season.
The FWAA has honored a major-college coach with its Coach of the Year Award since 1957. And Weis is the third Notre Dame coach to win the FWAA Award, but the first since Lou Holtz in 1988. Ara Parseghian also won the FWAA award in 1964.
The FWAA Coaching Award is named after Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 years. He has more Division I victories (408) than any other coach. The winner of the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award also will be honored at his campus before next season. “Charlie Weis restored the pride and magic at Notre Dame in a single season,” said FWAA executive director Steve Richardson. “If ever there was a deserving candidate for this award it is Weis. He basically took the same players who were there the year before and won more games. That’s coaching.”
For more information about the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, go to www.footballwriters.com.