Kansas coach Charlie Weis introduced
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Charlie Weis hobbled onto the court at Allen Fieldhouse with the help of a cane on Saturday, clutching a microphone in his hand as a sellout crowd silenced for the first time all afternoon.
"The first thing we have to do is stop neglecting the fact that there's another school in the state that's a competitor," the Jayhawks' new football coach said by way of an introduction, "and go figure out a way to beat their butts."
Weis didn't waste time firing the first salvo against Kansas State.
With bitter rival Missouri headed off to the SEC next season, the in-state rivalry should only grow in angst, and Weis said it's one of his priorities to become competitive with the Wildcats.
"Here's the one question I have to ask you," Weis told the crowd during halftime of the basketball team's victory over Ohio State. "We're 2-10. The other school in this state is 10-2? Why?"
As a chorus of boos filled the building, Weis asked for quiet.
"Here's the bottom line," he said. "My job now that I've been hired here is to not just figure out why, but do something about it."
Weis has certainly won over fans since he was announced Friday as the replacement for the fired Turner Gill. The ex-Notre Dame coach and longtime NFL assistant agreed to a five-year deal worth a guaranteed $2.5 million annually to turn around a program that's 5-19 the past two seasons.
Once considered among the best offensive minds in football, Weis' reputation took a hit during a 35-27 stretch leading Notre Dame. He spent last year as offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, helping them to a surprise AFC West title, and this past season as offensive coordinator at Florida under first-year head coach Will Muschamp.
Weis said he would have been content to retire with the Gators, but the opportunity to build a program that has experienced scant success was too good to pass up.
He spent Saturday afternoon seated with his family in the first row behind the Jayhawks bench, and was greeted by basketball coach Bill Self prior to the game.
"I said hello and congratulations," Self said. "I didn't get any plays from him, but I tell you what, if he's as good a mind as everyone is telling me, I would be happy to sit down with him."
Weis told the thousands of fans on hand for the basketball game that he'd hire the best staff he can find in the coming days and hit the road recruiting -- and have surgery to replace his hip, which is still bothering him after a sideline mishap during his days coaching the Fighting Irish.
"I'm not in here to wave a magic wand. There are a lot better coaches than me. There are guys that are smarter, guys that have accomplished more," Weis said. "But when I came here, I came here with one thing in mind: I want to leave here knowing that we have a year-after-year, perennial winning program that is going to compete on the level you expect on an annual basis."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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