Charlie Weis’ stint with Kansas may be ending sooner than anticipated.
Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal-World reported on Monday that Kansas’ matchup with Central Michigan this weekend could seal the fate of Weis’ coaching tenure with the Jayhawks, if indeed they were to lose to the lackluster MAC opponent.
“Athletic director Sheahon Zenger has an old-school approach to much of his job, and that includes having a distaste for firing coaches in mid-season and handing the reins to an interim head coach,” Keegan wrote. “Normally, such a move is too desperate and disruptive.
“But if Kansas doesn’t defeat Central Michigan on Saturday, the question becomes one of which is less disruptive, moving an interim head coach into the swanky office or leaving in his chair the coach not reaching his athletes. It’s tough to make a case for the latter.”
Kansas (-3.5) isn’t favored by much over the Chippewas, who are 2-1 but enter Saturday coming off a 40-3 beatdown by Syracuse in Week 3. That’s not a good sign for the Jayhawks, who just partook in their own embarrassing loss, getting punched in the mouth by Duke, 41-3.
Even CBS Sports senior college football columnist Dennis Dodd went as far to name some potential replacements for Weis. (Keep in mind that he has not been fired. Yet.)
Dodd mentions Texas A&M and Ohio State offensive coordinators Jake Spavital and Tom Herman as possible candidates, while linking in former Texas coach Mack Brown and former North Carolina/Miami (Fla.) coach Butch Davis. Possibly the most reasonable option—as indicated by the article’s choice of multimedia—would be Josh Heupel, the 9th-year OC for Bob Stoops and Co. at Oklahoma.
“Criticized by fickle OU fans at times, the 36-old Heupel has the Sooners’ offense purring again,” Dodd says. “In his ninth year in Norman, the former Sooners’ great has been linked to the SMU opening.”
Since Weis took over Kansas’ program in 2012, the Jayhawks are 5-21 (1-17 Big 12) and are being outscored by an average of 23.6 points per loss. They’ve lost by 30 points or more in eight different performances, and are rarely competitive against teams in the upper spectrum of the Big 12 Conference.
Arguably their best season was Weis’ first, when Kansas went 1-11 but collected four losses that came by seven points or less (including a six-point loss to Oklahoma State and a four-point discrepancy to Texas). However, those weren’t technically Weis’ players (they were Turner Gill’s), and he was already notorious for soaking up early success at Notre Dame with Tyrone Willingham’s recruiting classes.
Kansas has been stagnant since 2012 with no real signs of improvement, and if the lifeless effort against Duke was any indication of how the rest of the season will play out, we’re going to be looking at another one-win campaign.
Preseason expectations weren’t necessarily sky high, though—at least not in the opinion of the sane. During my spring preview at FanIQ, I projected Kansas to finish 2-10 (0-9) in 2014, with wins in the opener and at home against Central Michigan.
I also mentioned that this will likely be Weis’ last year in Lawrence, but there’s no reason to feel bad for him – Notre Dame is still paying him almost $10,000 per day for his severance package, and if Kansas is to let him go early, it will still owe him over $5 million for the next two-and-a-half years.
So in this case, being fired might not be the worst thing in the world.
What’s a pretty awful thought, however, is that if Weis loses to Central Michigan on Saturday and is in fact handed the pink slip, he will finish his tenure as the worst coach in Kansas’ illustrious (hint: sarcasm) football history with a 18.5 winning percentage.
That’s something money can’t heal I don’t think he would care.