Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Charlie Weis adds coaches to staff

Newly appointed Kansas University head football coach Charlie Weis is introduced at halftime of KU's men's basketball game against Ohio State on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Newly appointed Kansas University head football coach Charlie Weis is introduced at halftime of KU's men's basketball game against Ohio State on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.



Tim Grunhard, a second-round draft pick out of Notre Dame in 1990, played 11 years at center for Kansas City.

When asked at his introductory news conference last week what he would do if his son wanted to coach defense, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis painted a clear and comedic picture.

“I would say he’s a communist if he went over to defense,” Weis said of his son, Charlie Jr., who recently transferred to KU and plans to learn the ins and outs of coaching under his father.

It’s no wonder, then, that five days into his KU career, Weis already had filled four offensive positions on his coaching staff and none on the defensive side of the ball.

Two of those positions were made official on Tuesday, when Weis announced the hiring of offensive line coach Tim Grunhard and quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus. Like Weis, both men graduated from Notre Dame, and both have long-standing relationships with KU’s new head coach. The other offensive positions that have been filled belong to Weis, who also will serve as KU’s offensive coordinator, and former interim head coach Reggie Mitchell, who coached KU’s running backs from 2010-11 and will continue in that role during 2012.

Tuesday afternoon, during his weekly radio spot with Soren Petro, Grunhard, a former sports talk radio host with 810 WHB, explained what it was about Weis that made him jump at the chance to join his staff.

“He’s as happy as I’ve seen him in a long time,” Grunhard said. “He’s excited and he’s motivated. I know one thing about Charlie Weis, when he’s excited and he’s motivated, great things happen.”

Grunhard, who played 11 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs before moving on to coach high school football in Kansas City, has had his eye on joining Weis’ staff for quite some time. When Weis was hired at Notre Dame in 2005, he and Grunhard talked about a collaboration, but Grunhard’s family and its ties to the Kansas City area kept him from heading to South Bend, Ind. When the opportunity to join Weis at Kansas presented itself last Sunday, the offer was too good for Grunhard to pass up. This time, his family agreed.

“I don’t know if this is good or bad, but it was a unanimous vote for me to (take the job),” said Grunhard, who has four children. “They’re excited. They were born here. They grew up here. They’re KU fans.”

A native of Chicago, Grunhard said his home and adopted cities would be his primary recruiting areas at Kansas. He officially will begin his new job on Jan. 1.

“I’m just thrilled and excited,” he said. “It’s such a great challenge.... I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t believe Charlie Weis could win. And I wouldn’t have taken the job if that wasn’t one of the finer universities in the country.”

Grunhard comes to KU on the heels of a successful, six-year coaching stint at Bishop Miege High, where he led the Stags to five straight district titles and the 2009 Class 4A state championship. During Grunhard’s time leading the program, six Miege players went on to earn Div. I scholarships. It would have been seven, but former KU commitment Phil Ford fell short academically and spent the 2011 season at Iowa Western Community College. Ford, a 6-foot-6, 335-pound offensive lineman who red-shirted the 2011 season, always kept his eye on coming back to Kansas. Now, with his former high school coach involved with the program, Ford’s hopes for a reunion are bigger than ever.

“I think he’s gonna do really good,” Ford said of Grunhard. “He’s a really smart coach and, even though he was the head coach, he was always around other positions and would spend extra time working with all of us. He relates really well to everyone, and some of the things that he showed me really helped me in high school and have helped me much more in college.”

Powlus, a former Notre Dame quarterback, who coached QBs under Weis from 2005-09, has spent the past two seasons at Akron, coaching QBs for former Notre Dame assistant Rob Ianello.

As a coach, Powlus helped develop former Notre Dame and current Carolina Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen into one of the most prolific passers in Fighting Irish history. In 2009, Clausen was named an All-American after completing a school-record 68 percent of his passes (289-for-425) for 3,722 yards and 28 touchdowns with four interceptions.

As a player, Powlus was a four-year starter at Notre Dame from 1994-97. He set 20 school records and started 44 games for the Irish. After college, he played three seasons in the NFL and also played one season for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe.

A native of Berwick, Pa., Powlus graduated from Notre Dame in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the school’s College of Business Administration. Grunhard graduated from Notre Dame in 1990 and was a member of Notre Dame’s 1988 national championship squad.

“We have to build a winning tradition at Kansas,” Grunhard said. “They have that winning tradition on the basketball side, and I don’t understand why you can’t find that on the football side. That is our challenge. That is our goal.”

Steele honors 3 Jayhawks

KU seniors Tim Biere, Jeremiah Hatch and Steven Johnson each were named to college football analyst Phil Steele’s third team all-Big 12 squad on Tuesday.

Hatch, a center from Dallas, also earned all-Big 12 second-team honors from the league’s coaches, while Biere, a tight end from Omaha, Neb., and Johnson, a linebacker from Media, Pa., were honorable mention selections.

Johnson was named to the Associated Press second team all-Big 12 squad, while Hatch and Biere earned honorable mention nods on that list.

Crist update

Weis was scheduled to travel to Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist’s home on Tuesday for an in-home visit. Crist, who visited Delaware a couple of days after coming to KU last weekend, will visit Wisconsin on Thursday and Friday, and could make a decision by this weekend.

Once he transfers, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound pro-style QB, who will graduate from Notre Dame this month, will have one season of eligibility remaining and will be able to play right away because of NCAA rules that allow athletes to play out their eligibility at another school immediately after graduation, without sitting out.


gardenjay 10 years, 9 months ago

Defense is exciting part of this game, so since KU is paying for this DC, please get someone really good - and really quickly.

gardenjay 10 years, 9 months ago

It's kind of amusing that ESPN can't get enough of Following our every move...

Ben Kane 10 years, 9 months ago

which is exactly why Weis was such a great hire.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 9 months ago

Hmmm, I wonder if Koenning might be coming to KU

Interesting also that UofI's new hc is repeatedly being turned down for OC/DC offers.

DevilHawk 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm still wondering if he's going to keep Beaty.

DevilHawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Ianello has spent most of his career as a Recruiting Coordinator (18 years). He also has spent 11 years as a WR Coach.

If Ianello is hired, then that would seem to displace Beaty and possibly Mitchell. However, we know that he is retaining Mitchell. Also, according to the article, Weis has named himself as the OC while he has made it absolutely clear that he intends to groom someone for the position.

I could see him keeping Beaty for that purpose and also for recruiting purposes, but I'm not sure what he's thinking.

Kansashawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Article in Chicago Tribune about the Weis hire and talks about Ianello wandering the halls. So even though no formal announcement, sounds like he's already here.,0,3849598.story

jhox 10 years, 9 months ago

Beatty and Wyatt are essentially free help, so it would be silly not to keep them. I believe they have contracts that we will have to pay regardless of whether or not we keep them on staff, so we may as well keep them and see how they fit in with Weis.

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 9 months ago

I can see him keeping Beaty for continuity, and to help keep some of the best players in the fold. Changes could always be made later if it didn't work out.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

I would love to see Clint Bowen on this staff. With Weis obviously wanting to do the offense, my guess is that a big time D Coordinator is in the cards. I don't see Bowen as that guy, but a role as a position coach/assistent D- Coordinator would be great.

jayhawker4real 10 years, 9 months ago

Who else thinks a DC is chosen and in the fold. and the announcement is just waiting for the bowl game to be played?

jhyphene 10 years, 9 months ago

I think it's Levitt, and they are waiting until the 49ers season is over. I'm looking whether or not they make significant staffing announcements on the defensive side prior to naming a coordinator. My guess is that Levitt gets free reign to build his own staff, so they won't name anyone on defense until Levitt gets here and does it himself. I might be wrong, but I think this is a good possibility. What do you think?

Bville Hawk 10 years, 9 months ago

+1. I had the same thoughts as you re: Leavitt. Hope we're right, he would be a great DC, knows the territory. Another hard-nosed football coach.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 9 months ago

You may be right, but I've never really thought the NFL guys cared as much about waiting for the season to end. That's always seemed to me to be a college courtesy. So while you might be right, I'm thinking he hasn't decided yet, or it is a college coach.

Kansashawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Koenning just turned down staying on at Illinois. #7 defense 2011. just a thought...

tical523 10 years, 9 months ago

I like what Charlie is doing so far, but like most I can't wait to hear he is keeping Wyatt and Beaty. Those guys not only recruit well, they were also the most engaged and passionate coaches on the sideline last year.

bigtex 10 years, 9 months ago

Beaty is an excellent coach and a great recruiter. Coach Beaty has huge Texas connections and is well respected by Texas coaches in Texas. I see Weis is bringing in coaches with connections to Notre Dame but I feel Beaty would fit right in with any staff, he is a loyal guy to whoever he works under.

Phoggin_Loud 10 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the link. Great article. Here's what jumped out to me:

"I'm going to start off as the head coach and also run the offense. I'm going to run the offense. And the coaches coming in know that I'm going to run the offense. And the people I'm recruiting know that at the beginning I'm going to run the offense. But when I feel it's right, I'm turning the offense over to the assistant coaches. But I want to make sure it's right before I go ahead and do that, so there's no ambiguities of who is doing what.

That, in turn, forces you to make sure you hire a defensive coordinator that's almost like a head coach."

Seems like Leavett would fit this description.

lv_jhwk 10 years, 9 months ago

On the OC aspect, this is where I think Beatty fits in since he held that position at Rice. I think he'd also be more than willing to spend a year or two learning from Weis before being handed the reins.

johnnyphoton 10 years, 9 months ago

Nice. Thanks for putting this article in.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Great article, thanks for posting the link.

OceanStateJayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

speaking as a huge notre dame fan and jayhawk living out east....

im in my late 20's and really dont ever remember being a powerhouse but only having spectacular tradition...

the school is 15-15 in bowl wins all time...

besides winning two meaningless bowl games in 2008 and 2010 they lost every bowl game going back to 1994.. and some years they didnt even make the post season...

they have also been outscored 709-657 in the postseason...

and in 5 season at ND he was only 8 games over .500 with a record of 35-27...

and please dont say making matt cassell a pro bowler and the chiefs going to the playoffs is an epic success...

i am confused as to why everyone is drooling over this guy....

oh and p.s. he will rub the administrators and big donors the wrong way... mark my words...

p.p.s I hope that I am SOOOOOO wrong about him...

Sam Brockert 10 years, 9 months ago

considering the fact that a man whom a lot of people think of as the best coach ku has had in recent history was only 1 or 2 games over .500 when he was fired, I would say I would take 8 games over .500. Not to mention, Mangino padded his W/L record with the 2007 season playing teams that were down that year, with the exception of VTech.

HawksWin 10 years, 9 months ago

Ocean, I'm no FB expert, but consider the following: 1) Given the decades of poor performance in FB, what current successful coaches would want to come to KU & have a chance at ruining one's carefully build reputation? Not many with so much better FB programs competiting for their new coach. Let's not flatter ourselves as our options were limited - strictly speaking from the supply/demand in the world of commerce. 2) Being at the bottom of the conf & laughing stock in Big12, I'd have been pleased with a record of 500 this season. And, I'm not looking at any bowls - just yet. Yes, my expectations are low when it comes to KU FB. I've been conditioned - after decades of poor products/results I've witnessed. So, let us first "crawl" out of this dungeon we are in before we expect Weis or any HC to "run" & dominate the field against our foes. 3) That said, KU does NOT have the luxury of "time" - to walk from crawling - instead we need to come out running - at the speed of Olympic gold. Why? Conference Alignment! The future of KU BB has been at stake every summer now with FB dictating it. So we don't have the time in our favor to hire & develop a high school or jr college coach. 4) You have dissected & criticized just about everything Weis has done - in the past & present. Why not wait & watch the next season before writing him off. This man has nothing to lose but has a lot to prove, and that's exciting. No matter, any coach Including Weis will deliver better result next year. A bigger question is - can new & improved Weis build a winning tradition at KU? I'm watching...

JayHok 10 years, 9 months ago

I didn't realize Tom Brady is a fictional character and Weis' super bowl rings were bought at Toys R Us.

Jayhawker111 10 years, 9 months ago

Today's headline should have been: Weis cuts starting QB Jordan Webb!

Soon this newspaper will run a story about the Notre Dame quarterback (Crist) transferring to KU and as a sideline in the story will say "On another note Jordan Webb has decided to transfer".

The newspaper will write the story to make it look like Webb left because of the new competition at QB, but the reality is Charlie Weis did not want to renew Webb's scholarship. A scholarships is a renewable contract that is signed each year and it is up to the head coach if they want to renew it.

It is the harsh world of being an athlete in the NCAA. The NCAA and KU just use the athletes and then when they no longer want them --they cut them, take away their scholarship and the athlete is left out in the cold wondering how they are going to finish their education.

Webb committed to KU, but Weis (KU), and the NCAA showed no loyalty in return. The big business of college athletics strikes again and the student athlete is the one who loses.

kraus42 10 years, 9 months ago

They can easily finish their education! Do it like the rest of the students who are not gifted enough with god given talent to have it provided free for a few years. And at the same time be thankful for the easy jump start. If Webb ever thought his career was simply starting by playing quarterback, he's the bafoon.

blackhawkjayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

I agree with the core part of your argument: if you offer a kid, then you should honor the commitment for 4 years - assuming the kid does the work in the classroom, on the field and off the field. I would hope that Charlie Weiss would not tell Jordan Webb that his scholarship is not being renewed but that the system is changing and that he may want to look for other opportunities - then it's up to Jordan.

Since this is all speculation, I'm going to assume the best on behalf of Weiss. Unless someone can prove that he has pulled a scholarship, it shouldn't be posted here or anywhere as fact.

I hope that Jordan Webb stays at KU - starter or not. He's an experienced QB who could help the program, even if he is a back-up. Remember - injuries are big part of football and you never know when the next opportunity may arise.

However, I would fully respect his decision to change schools if he feels that this is best for him. Where the NCAA is wrong, in my belief, is requiring players to sit if they transfer.

Does Kevin Sumlin have to sit out a year? How about Fedora? No...they changed schools, got hefty raises and get to start right away. Why should players have to sit when coaches don't?

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 9 months ago

I hope you're not suggesting the NCAA remove the "penalty" for transferring. You really want a revolving door of free agents in college football? Imagine how badly things would be going now if everyone on the roster could just transfer to another school. Knowing that many of these kids take 5 years to graduate, I hardly think it's the end of the world for them to sit out a year while still having the education expenses being picked up.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't see Jordan Webb caring about my 12 trips to the emergency room to fix my bleeding eyes after watching him play every Saturday.

Coach-Matt Koelling 10 years, 9 months ago

I coach track and field at the Division I level, so I'd like to give you some information regarding the renewal of athletic scholarships.

Although they are renewed on a yearly basis, they are guaranteed to be renewed for 4 years with only 2 exceptions: 1. The student becomes academically ineligible 2. They violate university or team rules

So yes, if Coach Weis wants to cut Jordan Webb he can. But unless it's for the reasons listed above, Jordan Webb can keep his scholarship and continue to go to school for free all 4 years.

Jayhawker111 10 years, 9 months ago

Coach Matt: --you are dead wrong if you are talking about a scholarship for Division 1 football..

A scholarship is a renewable contract that is signed each year and it is up to the head coach if they want to renew it.

A student isn't set for the next four years when he accepts a scholarship. A coach awards a scholarship for one academic year, and the school must renew the scholarship by July 1 for the next academic year, according to the NCAA.

A scholarship can be terminated for any reason. Common reasons for termination include the player breaking a team rule, getting injured or playing poorly.

Chris Bailey 10 years, 9 months ago

Webb would be hard pressed to start at a JUCO. So IF he transfers it will not be to another D1 school.

Jayhawker111 10 years, 9 months ago

Some of the people are commenting that Webb can be cut from the team and still stay in school on scholarship ...No way!

Read this article to enlighten!

NCAA Scholarship Rules Expose Yet Another Hypocrisy in College Sports

manginodrh00lz 10 years, 9 months ago

I'll give you Wyatt on the recruiting front but...maybe I'm missing something... I didn't see anything from our d-line that indicated they were coached properly.

tom123kufan 10 years, 9 months ago

I like how this is unfolding...take your time and hire an exceptional DC and this is going to be a wonderful turnaround.

blackhawkjayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Some points made by others include that our new DC is probably already a DC on a college staff or pro staff - which means a likely delay in announcing/hiring. Unless Weiss hires a position guy to promote up, it will probably be a few weeks before the DC is finalized.

As you state - it's a critical hire. Waiting a few weeks to get the right guy is important. Weiss already has a few coaches in the fold to keep the recruiting going, though getting more on staff as soon as possible is also important. You do not want the first recruiting class to be a complete miss.

rwhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

What's up with Crist's situation? If he's that good, why doesn't he just declare for the draft?

lv_jhwk 10 years, 9 months ago

Still needs to demonstrate the ability to make it through a full season. Two injuries and one benching after a half-game (Kale Pick anyone?) have done nothing to prove otherwise. The tools are definitely there though.

blackhawkjayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

He also coached an arena team in LaCrosse, WI that was a complete failure. I love Gilbert but I don't think we could take that risk.

texashawk10 10 years, 9 months ago

He's not asking Brown to be a head coach or coordinator, just a position coach of a position he played for many years at the highest levels and to teach the skills he's learned over the years to KU's D-Line.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Just because you can play a sport well doesn't mean you can coach it.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 9 months ago

I think he would do it. You could sell him with "no more hot, sweaty girls in lingerie, now you can work with hot, sweaty men in Under Aarmour!" Now, I'm neither Gilbert Brown nor his agent, but if he were to opt for the latter, he would go from "great former Jayhawk" to "complete idiot" in my mind!

JayHok 10 years, 9 months ago

Newspapers can't get enough about Weis. Found this in a local paper in Portland/Vancouver today. Ducks are in the Rose Bowl and Weis gets the press.

"Under orders from the Gipper, four horsemen have ridden overnight into the burning town of Lawrence, Kansas to save America's future from Quantrill, the confederacy and the SEC. Head Coach Charlie Weis, aka the big Jayhawk-Gipper, will initially hold onto the reigns of offensive coordinator horse at the University of Kansas, something Weis didn't have the foresight to consider while head coach at Notre Dame. This ultimately will leave his large Gipper fingers, strong from the warring of, and the wear and tear of, wearing three NFL championship rings for nearly a decade, all the more powerful to guide his thouroughbreds through the leaps, fires and stretches of college football seasons as a hybrid head coach/offensive coordinator, the latter, his bread and butter manning the stables and schemes for Belichick's horses for so many years, including the development of the most thorough of all thoroughbred passers in modern day football, Thomas Brady. After the University of Kansas football mules suffered for two years as the laughing stock of national sports talkshows, the glory of and passion of college football is awake, alive, alert and suddenly instantly reivigorated again in Lawrence, Kansas. With the Big Gipper at the reigns of the Jayhawk Horse this time around, the rest of sports interested America, looking for a story that doesn't have to do with Sandusky or NBA trade blocks, has become strangely interested in a story that isn't about a bowl team, but about a coaching staff that very well could dominate the ranks of college football for years to come. The Gipper and his Four Horsemen have arrived with Weis drawing up the map this time around and the landscape of college football is about to be a much more interesting place. But first, the Gipper will have to have hip replacement surgery next week before getting back on his recruiting horse. Stay tuned, you football freaks, there's a lot more to come on this one. The Big Gipper is back. And the Lady Madonna is finally crying tears of joy again, this time, strangely, not in South Bend, but in Lawrence, Kansas, the new home of the Big Gipper and his four horsemen. Tomorrow: more from Chip Kelly on the Ducks' Rose Bowl preparation for Wisconsin's 305 pound line."

Displayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Rumor mill is that Jake Heaps is considering transferring from BYU to KU. Let me re-emphasize that it is only rumor at this point. Most likely if Dayne Crist comes here, Heaps will not.

Michael Maris 10 years, 9 months ago

Source of the rumor being?

Why not take them both (if they both will come)? Crist has 1 year and does not have to wait a year.

Heap on the other hand, will have to sit out a year (as required). So, Heap could learn in his transfer year and then if he is good enough could take over the reigns when Crist is gone.

Michael Maris 10 years, 9 months ago

Ok, your rumor has now shown up on site. Course, you have to be an insider to read the information.

Bion Ostrander 10 years, 9 months ago

I do support the Weis hire, after some initial concern.

And its Weis' prerogative if he wants to hire lots of ex-Notre Dame players as coaches with the diverse expertise of coaching in both high school and at Akron U. powerhouses. But I wasn't excited about Gill trying to turn KU into Nebraska south, I'm equally skeptical about trying to turn KU into non-catholic Notre Dame and somehow working green into the uniform color scheme!

I'm being facetious, but I hope Weis realizes there are a few other schools out there with great coaches not graduated from ND.

I'm sure Weis will weed out the glut of 4 QBs on the KU roster (3 redshirt freshmen, including Berglund). Hard to believe former All-American QBs Gill and Long never could recruit or identify QB talent, so they just brought in as many as possible and hoped the law of averages caused one QB to rise to the top.

The DC hire will need to be a home-run!

kellerman411 10 years, 9 months ago

Why not just hire Vic Shealy as the DC? Yeah right! What a joke.

Dave Benjamin 10 years, 9 months ago

On a related note (possibly), just reported that Vic Koenning has officially declined an offer to stay at Illinois under Tim Beckman. I noticed Tait mentioned him as a viable DC candidate a few days ago considering Leavitt was more than likely not a realistic option. Not sure if this is anything ironclad, but he would definitely be the game-changer staff hire for Weis considering our "defense" needs all the help it can get.

bad_dog 10 years, 9 months ago

rivals is reporting 3* defensive end Keon Stowers has committed to KU.

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