Following another heartbreaking loss on Saturday, ending another season mired in the purgatory of mediocrity, the Charlie Weis reign under (over?) the Golden Dome came to a fitting conclusion. In an era filled with vast potential, inadequate results, and crushing disappointments, the 45-38 loss to Standford in the final minutes of the game followed the script that has become his signature.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick's announcement of Weis' dismissal on Monday was neither surprising nor greatly celebrated. It was clear Charlie had to go, but the final acceptance that the coach who descended upon the campus in South Bend from the absolute summit of the NFL mountain, took the team to two BCS games in his first two seasons as head coach, and stockpiled a cache of talent not seen since the Holtz era, would leave the school finding such little success, was hard to swallow.
When it was the Jarious Jackson teams under Bob Davie or the Carlyle Holiday teams under Tyrone Willingham, the losing was at the very least understandable. But with Jimmy Clausen and his two nuclear wide receivers operating under the offensive guru behind the creations of Tom Brady and the offense of the multiple-Super Bowl winning New England Patriots, the fates were supposed to change. The team was destined to again operate on another level relative to the cretins of the NCAA. But after five years, the constant failure could simply be tolerated no longer.
The path that led to Weis' downfall has been well documented. Since Holtz, the Irish have been through three coaches that failed miserably. But Charlie Weis departs South Bend leaving the team in a much different condition than his predecessors. While Bob Davie did leave Tyrone Willingam some talent — specifically at the running back position (Julius Jones, Ryan Grant) — the defense was thin and the lack of a viable quarterback would plague Willingham until the freshman Brady Quinn replaced Holiday in 2003, Ty's second to last season.