By: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
December 13, 2004

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SOUTH BEND, IN -- It looks like Charlie Weis has found his new home.

While he's spent the past several seasons in New England winning two Super Bowl championships and looks poised to win a third, Weis may have hoped that success would have lead to an NFL head coaching job. Instead he's landed the opportunity to coach at Notre Dame, and should he be able to turn around one of the biggest programs in college football, fans may have wondered if such an opportunity would have eventually given Weis the chance to return to coaching in the NFL later on in his career.

According to Weis, he's apparently not interested in using Notre Dame as a stepping stone. Instead it appears the Patriots offensive coordinator is planning on making a home in Indiana, and wants this to be the place both he and his family spend the rest of his coaching career.

"I think that all of you people who don't know much about Charlie Weis are going to say, what took him so long?"¯ Weis told reporters in South Bend on Monday. "And when I come here, I don't come here to leave and take a job in the NFL in three years. This is not a stepping stone."

"This is an end-all for our family. We come to Notre Dame, it's with the intent of retiring here. That's why we're coming here. We don't come here to bounce somewhere else. If that's what I was going to be doing, I would not be taking this job and I would be waiting 'til the season ended in the NFL and try to get one of those jobs. I'm here because I want to be here. I'm proud to be here."¯

It's an opportunity he's definitely earned. After starting out early in his career working in the personnel department and evaluating film for the New York Giants, he's since grown into a professional and one of the best offensive minds in football. Needless to say it comes as no surprise to his current boss Bill Belichick, who told reporters in New England that he's happy to see Weis get the chance to be a head coach.

"It is great,"¯ said Belichick. "As I said, Charlie has worked hard. I think he deserves it. He is a good coach. He has had a good career. He has had a lot of success. He has been a big part of our success."¯

"It is an opportunity that I can't provide him. I can't provide that opportunity. So, for it to become available somewhere else and for him to be selected for that, it is a credit to him. It is a credit to him. I think it is a compliment to our entire organization and we wish him well."¯

The challenge for Weis now will be putting together a coaching staff along with a plan for recruiting, which will likely be difficult considering the fact that New England likely has plenty of football left to be played. However it appears that Weis already had a plan in place for the coaching staff.

"¯Well, without getting into the particulars of names, let's say that that process is already in place,"¯ said Weis. "You have two types of coaches. Coaches that are the foundational like your offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator special teams guy, the guys that are going to have the most contact with the most people. Okay, get those in line so that you can fill a staff that has camaraderie, because if you don't have a staff that has camaraderie and everyone is going a different direction, you don't have much of a chance."

"¯So that ball is already rolling, because obviously I'm well aware that the sooner you can get those things in place, the easier my job is going to be in the short time frame while I'm wearing these two hats."¯

In the meantime while Weis wears those two hats apparently both he and Belichick have worked out the details to keep it from becoming a distraction for the Patriots as they look to win their third NFL title in four seasons. While Belichick is happy for the success of one of his own, he wants to make sure that Weis' focus for the immediate future is on his New England Patriots.

"It is what it is,"¯ said Belichick in regards to the challenge Weis' new position presents. "We'll deal with it. Like I said, Charlie and I have talked about it. I think that we have had good communication and good thoughts on it. I have been through it before. We'll work through it."¯

In the meantime the Patriots will prepare for the first of three final regular season games, which for this week will feature a trip to Miami to battle the Dolphins on Monday night football. New England is trying to keep pace with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the battle for homefield in the AFC after clinching a postseason berth last weekend, and with Pittsburgh also currently sitting at 12-1 they can't afford to not get their best effort from both thier players and their coaching staff.

"We have a lot of football left this year and that is where our focus is, and that is not going to change,"¯ said Belichick. "Charlie is a big part of that, too. I am not leaving him out of it. We are a team. We are going to operate as a team. We are going to prepare and play as a team. That is where our focus has to be. I can't worry about Notre Dame."¯

For the now that's where Weis' focus lies, and will be for the immediate future. With three regular season games to go Weis will obviously be looking to leave a winner. What better way to convince a potential recruit to come and play for one of the coaches of an NFL Championship team?

The New England offensive coordinator was in the final year of his contract and everyone knew he would end up somewhere when the Patriots season came to an end. Both he and his family were heading somewhere after the season, and in the end Weis says he's happy that place ended up being in South Bend.

"This is the University of Notre Dame,"¯ said Weis. "If you're going somewhere, you should go where you feel that both you and your family can be part of something special, and I can't think of any other place better to be part of something special than this place."¯


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