Postmortem: Sorting through Charlie Weis’ mixed legacy at Notre Dame

My perception from the beginning is that people just generally disliked Charlie Weis at Notre Dame, for promising a “decided schematic advantage” before ever taking the field, for the sour Belichickian exterior and, yes, for the weight and appearance, on top of his role at the head of a program so many people love to despise in the first place. After the last three, disappointing seasons, his reputation as a developer of talent and program builder on the college level is pretty much shot for the rest of his career, barring the overtures of some desperate program and a dramatic change of heart by Weis at some point down the road. He never shed the persona of an aloof NFL guy trying to fit in on an energetic campus and seems to have accepted that he’s a better fit in the pros.
It would be a minor shame, though, if his legacy in South Bend was remembered exclusively as one of total failure, or even of persistent incompetence, if only because his first two seasons were remarkably good: Working with Tyrone Willingham’s maligned, underachieved recruits, Weis’ first team tore out of the gate with an upset at No. 3 Michigan, a near-upset over the top-ranked USC juggernaut and a deserving Fiesta Bowl bid to cap one of the most improved efforts in the country. His second team opened the season ranked No. 2, landed in the Sugar Bowl with 10 wins and produced a Hesiman finalist despite an air of disappointment that came with such high expectations.