Rumors that began to surface late Wednesday — and were dismissed by nearly every observer — have come to fruition: Charlie Weis is the new head football coach at Kansas.
In an announcement made on its official website, KU confirmed that Weis will be introduced as the Jayhawks’ new coach at a press conference Friday. The specific time of the press conference is still to be determined.
The college football world isn’t the only one stunned by KU’s hiring of Weis; according to a tweet from CBS Sports.com‘s Brett McMurphy, Will Muschamp, Weis’ boss, “didn’t know Weis interviewed at Kansas [and was] on [his] way to [a] Gator Bowl press conference when news broke [that] Weis [was] hired.”
Muschamp later clarified that he and Weis had discussed the Kansas job over the past few days. Last month, however, Weis seemed set on returning to Florida for another season.
“I’m going to coach for a long time,” Weis said on Nov. 22, when he was asked whether he would be back at Florida next season. “I’m not… my wife says I can’t quit. That’s not even… remember I have a kid who is a freshman in college here. Remember the reasons why I came here. So, I’ll be here for a while, unless you’re trying to get rid of me. No, he didn’t get free tuition if you were wondering.”
That, obviously, was before the KU job came open after the firing of Turner Gill.
Weis spent last season as Florida’s offensive coordinator — it’s very likely you’ll hear more cheers over this hire coming from Gainesville than Lawrence — after one year out of the game. From 2005-2009, and in his only head-coaching stint at any level of football, Weis led Notre Dame to a 35-27 mark. He was fired after the 2009 season, spending 2010 as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator before moving to the same job with the Gators.
During his lone season at UF, Weis came under intense criticism from Gator Nation for the underwhelming performance of his offense in 2011. Hired as part of Muschamp’s first UF coaching staff, Weis took an offense that was 43rd in points per game (29.9) and 82nd in total offense per game (350.9 yards) in 2010 and transformed it into an offense that finished 72nd (25.6) and 102nd (334.2), respectively, in 2011.
At $865,000 last year, and as noted by Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post, Weis was the highest-paid assistant coach in the history of Florida football.