June 1, 2005
COACH Charlie Weis:
The reason why I had this is for the last several months, since March, when David Cutcliffe had his bypass operation and recuperation has been moving along, I thought it was really important from my standpoint as the head coach to be supportive of David and his family and at the same time make sure I didn’t rush him into doing something he wasn’t physically or emotionally ready to do. I think that having had some health problems myself in the past, I greatly appreciated when I had some problems how Bill Belichick had handled it with me. I learned from that experience, and I felt that in this case right here I should give David his time to decide when he was ready to go.
The way David and I had basically left it is I had gone down and met with him and his wife at his home shortly after he got home and said that “You have no timetable, just take as long as you need to get ready to go. All I ask from you in turn is to let me know when you’re ready to go or if by chance there ever comes a time when you feel you’re not ready to go.”
So very recently David gave me a call and told me that he had come to the decision that he didn’t want to continue coaching this year. I told him that I wanted him to sleep on it over a weekend. I waited until after that weekend was over. I then gave him a call back and wanted to make sure that he wasn’t making a rash decision, that it was important to me to let him know that I was going to give him all the opportunity I could to let him make that decision.
We recently as of yesterday culminated this conversation where he told me he was sure that’s what he wanted to do, and he’s going to be available to you at 1:00 o’clock today to answer some questions himself because I don’t want to speak for him, I’m just speaking on behalf of Notre Dame.
I’ll let him answer his own questions. I’m not going to speak for him. But the things I want to nip in the bud, I’ll go over a couple of them. Number one, this was his decision; it was not a forced decision on him. He had come to the realization that this is what he wanted to do. He came to me with this, I did not go to him. I never pressed him for this.
I think that Notre Dame, I’m not speaking just for Charlie Weis, but I think that Notre Dame did David right and gave him the time to come to this conclusion or decision on his own, and I think that right now he doesn’t feel — he has a four-year old daughter, and I don’t think he feels it’s in his best interest to do this at this time.
Number two, obviously immediately, “Who’s the replacement?” Okay, speculation abounds all over the place. Well, we have a replacement in mind. We’re going through the process right now. This is not an open forum. We’ve already got that; trust me, long before I would have come to you, I would have already had the answer to the question. I’m just not at liberty to go over the answer to the question. When we have somebody under contract, I’ll immediately let you know that we have somebody under contract.
For those of you in the short time we’ve been together that you’ve gotten to know me, you know that I always have a plan, and I made sure the plan was well in place before we sat down to have this conversation so that we could have an answer to this before we got to this point. I would not say this is unfortunate because health issues are just things that happen. I wish David well. He’s a good man, a good football coach, but he’s a good man and I wish him and his family well. Now for the best interests of Notre Dame and the football program, it’s time to hire his replacement and move forward.
I pretty well have stated to you really what the issue is. I will certainly give you the details of a replacement as soon as those are finalized. But I obviously can’t speak about it until after we get to that point.
As far as anything else that David would like to add or bring to the table, I’ll let him handle that himself.
So with that having been said, we’re not getting into other subjects. I’ll briefly open it up if there’s anyone that wants to address this issue. Like I said, I’m going to let David speak for himself, so really the questions are going to be more directed to David. The press release basically — what’s in there is what he had told me in our conversation, and I said, “Well, you’ve told me, now will you put something on paper so we can give it to the media so they can have that at their disposal,” which he did. And then I really think that the ethical thing for me to do as far as David goes is let David speak for himself instead of Charlie Weis speaking for David.
So on that note, any questions that aren’t too loaded?
Q. Did you always have sort of a contingency plan in place? You always hoped he was coming back, but just in case?
COACH Charlie Weis:
Well, the first thing — I’m going to answer that in two parts. I have a contingency plan if I lose anybody, so it’s not just him. No matter who we would lose, there’s a contingency plan.
Just as I told you coming in, I wasn’t blowing hot air when I talked about having a depth chart of coaches. Well, once you hire them, now you need to revise that depth chart so you know who’s waiting in the wings and who you can get if something happens, and you have to have them at every position because you never know what’s going to happen. You never know what’s going to happen in life and what directions you’re taking.
So all you do is you revise your mentality as far as depth charts, make sure your plan in place no matter who it was.
Obviously what expedited this matter was a health condition where you had to say, “Okay, if this guy doesn’t return, how are you going to handle it.” You know, because I had since the middle of March to think about that, it made this one a little easier to be prepared for than if, let’s say I lost somebody today, just all of a sudden he was gone and he wanted to go take another job or career move or whatever. I think this gave me a lot more time to be prepared for this eventuality.
Q. Does this set you back as far as quarterback coaching?
COACH Charlie Weis: No, because really in the spring I coached the quarterbacks. David wasn’t here all spring. I mean, there’s no one it sets us back with because I was the quarterback coach. Actually we’re adding one rather than losing one because we really haven’t had him since spring break.
Q. Will the replacement person try to be here in June or July? I know you said you’re ratcheting down.
COACH Charlie Weis:
Two things. They’ll have their hands full over the next two months of learning the system. I’m not worrying about a coach coming in that’s going to coach the system. You know, it’s our system.
We’re not looking for somebody to come in and change the system, they’re just going to have to learn the system. I think more importantly, it takes a little pressure off of me to have somebody work with technique at quarterback so I can be the head coach, and really, as I told you throughout the spring, one of the problems with being the head coach and the quarterback coach is the fact that you have to be a position coach, therefore you have to worry about techniques and fundamentals, and whether it’s Brady (Quinn) or one of the other quarterbacks, I think it’s really important that the quarterback in many places has been the least coached position at the most valued position on the team.
So I think that having the head coach during the regular season be the quarterback coach is a really tough task if you’re going to try to run the team. You know, somebody has got to watch the everyday ins and outs, the footwork on every play. So when the ball is snapped, and I’m the head coach, I’m watching the whole progression of a play offensively, and now because I’m more than an offensive coordinator like I’ve been for the last bunch of years, now I’m look also is at the response on the other side of the ball and what those players are doing, as well. I think it really will alleviate a lot of the ins and outs, the nuances and fundamentals and techniques which I think are critical at the quarterback position.
Q. You and Brady (Quinn) had a good dialogue in the spring and an understanding of what you need from a quarterback as far as technique and those types of things. Do you envision yourself still keeping that role as quarterback coach working with some of the younger guys?
COACH Charlie Weis:
I will not be spending a lot of time with the younger guys. I’m going to be spending my time with the guys who are playing. I’m worrying about the guys that are playing the most. I think that my job, my forte is X’s and O’s, so I think you have to play to what your strengths are. The most important thing that we have to develop at Notre Dame is besides getting Brady (Quinn) ready to go, knowing what his replacement would be able to do if something happened to Brady (Quinn) and he were playing in the game. Those two things, those two answers, are what I’ll be spending my time with.
Q. How quickly will the replacement take place?
COACH Charlie Weis:
Quickly. You know, there’s a hiring process. As soon as somebody has signed a contract, I promise you, you will know about it immediately. I’m not holding out any information. It’s just that there’s a process that is already in play, so as soon as it’s finalized —
Q. (Question regarding hiring of a replacement).
COACH Charlie Weis:
I’m saying the process is in play. In other words, it’s like this. We’re already down to who we’re hiring and if I didn’t come with this answer, A, I wouldn’t be very organized; B, I’d have 50 people applying for the quarterback coaching job this afternoon. So they need not apply.
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