http://therockreport.blogspot.com/2006/10/ndn-excerpt-no-excuses-by-charlie-weis_10.html No Excuses by Charlie Weis To this day I am not sure why I dialed the phone. I guess you could blame it on a lot of things, immaturity probably being the biggest. It was a Sunday afternoon in 1975, the day after Notre DameĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s football team had lost a game and looked pretty bad doing so. For some reason, I believed that being a student of the university entitled me to issue a complaint about the teamĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s performance. I thought it would be a good idea to take my complaint all the way to the topĂ˘â‚¬â€ťto the office of Father Theodore Hesburgh, the schoolĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s president at the time. To be honest, I was fully expecting to get an answering service. I was stunned when Father Hesburgh himself picked up at the other end. It had never dawned on me that he would be done with his Sunday masses and actually sitting in his office at that very moment, ready to answer his phone. Father Hesburgh was caught off guard as well. He wasnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t in the habit of fielding a lot of complaint calls from students. He made me come straight down to his office to tell him exactly what was on my mind. My passion for sports and thinking that I knew everything there was to know about footballĂ˘â‚¬â€ťnot to mention every other sportĂ˘â‚¬â€ťhad a lot to do with my being in that situation. When I sat in the stands at Notre Dame, I wasnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t just watching the action on the field or on the court. To me, being at the game meant being a part of the game. Our football team won the national championship in 1977, my senior year. Our basketball team went to the Final Four. As a student who went to every game, I felt that I was part of the reason why the University of San FranciscoĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s twenty-nine-game winning streak in basketball came to an end in Ă˘â‚¬â„˘77 in our building, the Joyce Center, where the chant was Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Twenty-nine . . . and one!Ă˘â‚¬ At Notre Dame, the whole student body has always believed it can affect the outcome of a game. Notre Dame Stadium is like no other place youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ve ever gone to watch football. Not that there arenĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t fans everywhere that make a lot of noise, but a game at Notre Dame is something to experience. I still canĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t believe my eyes when I see, after every Notre Dame score, hundreds of people in the stands doing Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“air push-ups.Ă˘â‚¬ ThatĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s where they lift people, often recruits who weigh as much as 350 pounds, into the air and do as many push-ups with them as we have points. Or how about fans who crowd surf sixty rows? You just wonĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t find anything like it anywhere else. But there should be a limit to your enthusiasm, and I had exceeded that limit with my complaint call to Father Hesburgh, who at the time was in his twenty-third year as Notre DameĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s president. Father Hesburgh would lead the university for twelve more years until his retirement in 1987. He is considered one of the most influential figures in higher education in the twentieth century. I walked into his office with my tail between my legs, scared to death that I had gotten myself into trouble. Father Hesburgh had a very intimidating aura. After I nervously shared my point of view on our football team, he basically told me that I didnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t get a vote. What I thought about the football team wasnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t important, he said; I should go back and be a good student who was loyal to the school and its teams, and not consider my opinion one that mattered. Fortunately, the stern lecture was the extent of my punishment. But that didnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t make it any less painful. I remember walking out of that office feeling as humbled as you could possibly be. Now flash forward nearly thirty years, to early December 2004. Once again I was on the phone with a member of the administration at the University of Notre Dame. This time I was on the receiving end of the call, at my office in Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, home of the New England Patriots. I was going about my usual business as the PatriotsĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ offensive coordinator, trying to help them win their third Super Bowl in four seasons. John Heisler, Notre DameĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s senior associate athletics director, was asking whether I would be interested in speaking with Kevin White, the schoolĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s director of athletics, about replacing Tyrone Willingham, who had just been fired as head coach. Imagine that. The opinionated fan who used to sit in the student section had an opinion about Notre Dame football that just might matter after all. It brought a sarcastic smile to my face. I told John that protocol would be for Kevin to call Bill Beli-chick, the PatriotsĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ head coach, to ask for permission to talk with me. Belichick got that call on Saturday night, December 4, while we were in Cleveland getting ready for our game the next day against the Browns. I was anxious to hear about what had transpired in the conversation between Bill and Kevin, but that wouldnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t happen until Sunday morning, during our pregame meal, when Bill came up to me and said, Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Notre Dame called last night. . . . I told them they could give you a call.Ă˘â‚¬ Not that I was expecting him to tell me otherwise, but still it was a relief to hear that he had given his official blessing. We beat the Browns, 42Ă˘â‚¬â€ś15. On Tuesday morning, as we began game planning for our next opponent, Cincinnati, Kevin called to say he wanted to come to New England to interview me. Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“When do you want to do that?Ă˘â‚¬ I asked. Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Today,Ă˘â‚¬ he said. Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Great.Ă˘â‚¬ Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“When are you available?Ă˘â‚¬ Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Any time after midnight.Ă˘â‚¬ Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Excuse me?Ă˘â‚¬ Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Any time after midnight.Ă˘â‚¬ I had made a commitment to Belichick that I would not let the pursuit of the Notre Dame job, or any head-coaching position for that matter, distract me from my work with the Patriots. I would spend all day and all night working on the offensive game plan, as I always did on Tuesday before a Sunday game, and midnight was when I usually finished. If Kevin wanted to interview me on Tuesday, that was the time I would be available. Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Okay,Ă˘â‚¬ he said. The meeting was set for 12:30 A.M., at the Westin Hotel in Providence. I knew I wasnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t going to feel the least bit spent. Are you kidding me? I was already operating on adrenaline because of our playoff run, and now weĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re talking about the chance to coach football at Notre Dame, the premier football program in the country. I had gone to school there. IĂ˘â‚¬â„˘m a Catholic. Ask college football fans anywhere to name the one program they would want to run, and probably more than half are going to say Notre Dame. This wasnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t just any job. .