Notre Dame fires Weis, FSU's Bowden expected to step down - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Notre Dame fires Weis, FSU's Bowden expected to step down

South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - The University of Notre Dame handed head football coach Charlie Weis his walking papers Monday, ending his five-year reign.

Weis, who was under contract through 2015, is coming off his second straight 6-6 regular season with the Fighting Irish following Saturday's loss to Stanford, this after a school-worst 3-9 record in 2007.

Remarkably, the 45-38 setback to Stanford was the 10th Irish game this season decided in the final minute or overtime, with all of their losses coming by a combined 28 points.

Saturday's loss was Notre Dame's fourth straight, and athletic director Jack Swarbrick has opted for a different direction after the Irish again fell short of preseason expectations.

"We have great expectations for our football program, and we have not been able to meet those expectations," Swarbrick said. "As an alumnus, Charlie understands those goals and expectations better than most, and he's as disappointed as anyone that we have not achieved the desired results.

"For many of you who may have thought (Weis' firing) was a foregone conclusion, I say to you that the decision was harder than you thought, mainly because of the man involved. The players who played for Coach Weis couldn't help but develop a great affinity for him."

Swarbrick also announced that assistant head coach Rob Ianello will assume responsibility for football operations until a new coach is hired. Notre Dame has yet to decide whether it will accept a bowl bid this year.

"I have asked Rob Ianello to step in at this time. He has already played an essential role in recruiting, and I know he will be a great leader in the (interim)," Swarbrick said.

Weis, the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator, signed a 10-year contract just seven games into the first season at his alma mater. He brought the program to a pair of Bowl Championship Series games in his first two years at the helm, but both ended with the Irish on the wrong end of a blowout.

In Weis' five years, Notre Dame had a record of 35-27, giving the head coach a lower winning percentage (.565) than his predecessors Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham -- the latter being relieved of his head coaching duties after three years.

"We have established an evaluation process for all of our athletic programs that, in the end, results in a recommendation from Jack to me," Notre Dame president Father Jenkins said. "I accepted Jack's decision and look forward to working with him on selecting a new head football coach who is the very best choice possible for the university and especially for our student-athletes."

The countless names floated around to succeed Weis have included Cincinnati's Brian Kelly, North Carolina's Butch Davis, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and TCU's Gary Patterson.

"As we go out now and begin our search, that is our focus: finding the right individual to lead Notre Dame back to a place of prominence in college football," Swarbrick said. "The university is better when we do that, college football is better when we do that and the student-athletes as a whole are better when we do that."

The future coach takes over a program that has not sniffed a national title since a Lou Holtz-led squad went 11-1 in 1993, the year the Irish lost out on the No. 1 ranking to Florida State, a team they beat during the season.

Notre Dame boasts 11 national championships, the last coming in 1988, and seven Heisman Trophy winners.

 

Tallahassee, FL (Sports Network) - It appears Bobby Bowden's legendary 34-year tenure as the head coach at Florida State will come to an end Tuesday.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported Monday night that Bowden will announce his retirement. The newspaper reports Bowden is expected to be offered a non- coaching position at the school for an unspecified amount of time. He's also reportedly entitled to $1 million upon his retirement as part of a clause in his coaching contract.

The newspaper reported that Bowden met with school president T.K. Wetherell and athletic director Randy Spetman for about an hour on Monday morning. The legendary coach told a group at a booster luncheon that he will again talk with Wetherell and Spetman on Tuesday.

Bowden has stated that he wanted to return for the 2010 season, which would have been his 35th at the school.

The Seminoles are just 6-6 in 2009 and finished 4-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but they are expected to receive a bowl invitation for the 28th consecutive season. It's unclear if Bowden will coach that bowl game.

Should Florida State lose in its bowl game, the six wins would be the fewest for a Bowden-coached Seminoles team since the 1981 squad finished 6-5. It would also mark Bowden's first losing record since his first Florida State squad was 5-6 in 1976.

Bowden's job security came under fire earlier this season after a 2-3 start, including an 0-2 mark in ACC play. It was reported that some Florida State alumni questioned whether the 2009 campaign should be Bowden's last.

The Seminoles have a transition plan in place, with offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher set to take over the reins when Bowden eventually steps down or is forced out. Fisher was named the head coach in waiting after joining the Seminoles in 2007 following seven seasons in a similar role with LSU.

One of the nation's premier teams in the late 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, Florida State has not posted a 10-win season since 2003. The Seminoles also had 14 straight seasons of double-digit winning records from 1987-2000 -- a span that also included a final AP ranking among the top five.

Bowden has won two national championships -- in 1993 and 1999 -- since joining the school in 1976 and 12 conference titles, including nine in a row from 1992-2000.

The 80-year-old Hall of Famer has 388 career victories, second all-time behind only Penn State's Joe Paterno. Bowden was also the head coach at Samford from 1959-62 and was the head coach at West Virginia from 1970-75.

 

Monroe, LA (Sports Network) - The University of Louisiana at Monroe announced Monday it would not renew the contract of head football coach Charlie Weatherbie.

The 54-year-old Weatherbie just completed his seventh season at the school and compiled a record of 31-51 during his tenure. The team went 6-6 this season.

Weatherbie also coached at Utah State for three years (1992-94) and at Navy for seven seasons (1995-2001). His overall record is 76-115.

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