NJ Sports Writers' Man of the Year: Charlie Weis
Jersey guy Weis a banquet star
Monday, January 30, 2006
BY ED BARMAKIAN
For the Star-Ledger
Charlie Weis was not running for office yesterday at the New Jersey Sports Writers Association banquet, but there was no doubt whom the crowd considered its favorite.
The Notre Dame football coach, flanked by former Gov. Richard Codey and current Gov. Jon Corzine on the dais, received a standing ovation when he received the association's Man of the Year award at the Pines Manor in Edison.
"I'm always from New Jersey," Weis said. "Whenever people in the Midwest have something to say, I'm quick to tell them 'If you're not from New Jersey, you just don't understand.'"
Those in attendance clearly understood what Weis, the Middlesex High graduate who was born in Trenton, accomplished in his first year at Notre Dame. The Irish finished 9-3 after going 6-6 the previous year, played in the Fiesta Bowl and wound up No. 9 in the Associated Press poll, the program's first top 10 finish since 1993.
"I'm actually disappointed with how we did," said Weis, who helped the New England Patriots win three Super Bowls as offensive coordinator. "To be honest, I think we blew two regular-season games and lost a bowl game. How fired up can I be about that? Now we've raised the bar to 9-3 from 6-6 and our whole off-season is going to be about raising the bar again."
We Jersey guys luv Charlie. :D
If Charlie had stuck around for one more year:
1. We woulda win our 4th Lombardi
2. He woulda be the HC of NYJ
3. He coulda go to the Jersey shore every weekend.
More Charlie Weis
01/30/06 - Posted from the Daily Record newsroom
Notre Dame coach, N.J. native Weis named "Man of the Year"
Middlesex's favorite son hailed as conquering hero by writers
BY HARRY FREZZA JR.
GANNETT NEW JERSEY
Charlie Weis, the 1974 Middlesex High School graduate, who has built a storybook life as a three-time Super Bowl winning assistant coach, before becoming the head coach at his college alma mater -- the University of Notre Dame -- returned to his home state Sunday afternoon to a reception fit for royalty.
Weis was honored as the "Man of the Year" at the 70th New Jersey Sports Writers Assocation Banquet at The Pines in Edison, not too far from the playgrounds Weis grew up on in Middlesex Borough.
When Weis arrived he was greeted by flashing lights of cameras, several television reporters, and a group of print journalists who asked a wide range of subjects before he left to the banquet hall where he sat between former Governor Richard J. Codey and current Governor Jon Corzine.
Not bad for a kid from Middlesex.
Weis, who coached at the high school level at Boonton, Morristown and Franklin high schools and at South Carolina University before beginning his rise through professional football with a job with Bill Parcells and the Giants in the early 1990s, made sure that everybody in attendance knew he hadn't forgotten where he started and that he was proud to be a "Jersey guy."
"I'll always be a Jersey guy," Weis told the crowd. "I'm always very quick to defend New Jersey. If you're not from Jersey you just don't understand. We have a deep devotion for our friends and family"
He said that his biggest influences were former Morristown football coach John Chirona, Parcells, Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick and the late New York Giant great Joe Morrison, who was head coach at South Carolina when Weis was there.
"I really enjoyed the year I spent in Boonton," Weis said. "I went to Morristown and my fondest memory there was learning how to coach football from Chirona. You think you know something and you learn how little you know when you work for a guy like that -- I was just your arm chair quarterback. One of those guys who would second guess everything that would happen. I was lucky to learn under people who knew what they were talking about."
Weis, who signed a 10-year contract with Notre Dame last fall, was joined by two of his players bred in New Jersey -- Verona's Anthony Fasano, a tight end, and Sayreville's Brandon Hoyte, a linebacker. Both were also honored by the Sportswriter's. They praised Weis for the change in their team's fortunes last season when the Irish finished 9-3 and won a trip to the Fiesta Bowl where they lost 34-20 to Ohio State.
"He's a top level coach and its really great to be able to play under him and learn from him," said Fasano, a tight end, who will enter the National Football League Draft, bypassing a potential fifth year playing at Notre Dame. "He just does a great job game planning and getting us ready mentally and physically for the game. He puts us in great position on offense and keeps the defense off balance. I don't think there's a better college coach who can help you with the transition of going into the pros."
Asked if the coach gave him any slack for being "Jersey guys," Fassano laughed.
"He doesn't give much slack to anybody, but he definitely had a little bond early on, especially when he first came in," Fasano said.
"Once he stepped on campus he stuck to his word," said Hoyte, who added that he's working out in Arizona, preparing for the NFL Draft. "From the beginning he said this is how it's going to be and this is what he wanted us to do. Every day in practice he stayed consistent and that consistency is something that goes on to the players. He made my senior year unbelievable. I think I owe him a lot in that sense."
Despite Notre Dame's record and its bowl game, Weis said he didn't believe it was a "great year.
"How can I?," he said. "I'm disappointed. We blew two regular season games (losses to Michigan State and USC) and then we lose our bowl game. We were 9-3 last year and now that's where our bar is set."
He recalled his affinity for the Jersey Shore, pointing out stops at Wall, Manasquan and Belmar. He also mentioned his high school baseball coach Kevin Donovan, who Weis said could attest to his lack of success on the playing field.
That brought a laugh from the big crowd, who gave Weis a standing ovation when he strode to the microphone.
Rutgers' coach Greg Schiano, honored as Big East Conference Coach of the Year, said Weis called him after the Scarlet Knights' won their sixth game last fall to become bowl eligible. Weis told the crowd that when he and his team arrived in Arizona for their bowl game, he was asked who he liked in the Insight Bowl, which pitted Rutgers and Arizona State.
"I told him Rutgers -- who else?," Weis said. "I wasn't there to make friends. And we went to see their game. I told my team that if I saw any of them rooting for Arizona State and not Rutgers I was going to put them on the first bus back to South Bend."
Yeah! Go Charlie! What a great man!
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