Te'o fiasco reveals KU football coach Charlie Weis' true character


Did you hear what Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis had to say about the whole Manti Te'o mess?

Well, in case you missed it, here are Weis' comments:


During the past couple of weeks, as the story about the Notre Dame linebacker and his relationship with a girlfriend who not only did not exist but also never actually died, spiraled into more strange territory by the minute, Weis has kept his name out of the circus.

It would've been real easy for the second-year KU coach to get involved. He knew Te'o well, recruited him to Notre Dame and developed a strong bond with his immediate family. With the Te'o story landing in places such as Good Morning America, CNN, and, of course, every sports blog and web site on the planet, Weis' name and perhaps even his current employer would have been plastered all over the place for days, perhaps even weeks, as the story grew into one of the most unreal, unbelievable and, frankly, uncomfortable stories in recent memory.

But rather than capitalize on the chance to jump back into the limelight for a while, Weis passed. At least publicly.

I've talked to more than one person with knowledge of the fact that Te'o has reached out to Weis for advice multiple times during the past couple of weeks.

To Weis' credit, he has taken and returned Te'o's calls and done everything he can to help the young man navigate his way through a tough situation. Even more to his credit, Weis hasn't called a press conference to tell the whole world about it.

Weis handled things the same way during the 2012 season when Notre Dame, and a roster that included several players Weis recruited, raced to an undefeated season and a berth in the national championship game. Weis did release a statement saying how happy he was for those players and the school, but did not take it further than that, despite the fact that he received dozens of requests for interviews on a weekly basis throughout various parts of the season.

I can only imagine who has asked and how many times they've called to get Weis' take on the Te'o fiasco.

After the initial flurry, I asked KU officials if Weis would be making any comments on the situation and was told that he would not because he wanted to be respectful of the fact that this is about Te'o and not about him.

It's refreshing to see a coach who is willing to lie low in today's world where coaches so often — too often? — jump at the chance to put a microphone in front of their face to gain visibility for their program and feed their own egos.

It would've been easy for Weis to do that, especially right now during this crucial time in recruiting. But he didn't. And I don't expect he ever will.


JayDocMD 9 years, 3 months ago

Did you hear what Kansas University football beat writer Matt Tait wrote about what coach Charlie Weis had to say about the whole Manti Te'o mess?

Well, in case you missed it, here is Tait's article:


Jonathan Allison 9 years, 3 months ago

Did you hear what reader JayDocMD wrote about what Kansas University football beat writer Matt Tait wrote about what coach Charlie Weis had to say about the whole Manti Te'o mess?

Well, in case you missed it, here is JayDocMD's comment:


Ben Kane 9 years, 3 months ago

Did you hear what commenter wrote about what reader JayDocMD wrote about what Kansas University football beat writer Matt Tait wrote about what coach Charlie Weis had to say about the whole Manti Te'o mess?

Well, in case you missed it, here is JayDocMD's comment:


sorry, couldn't resist at this point.

Ben Kane 9 years, 3 months ago


happened to catch your interview on 610... nice work.

must say i subscribe to the Perry Ellis starting over Young theory.

Matt Tait 9 years, 3 months ago

Appreciate it. It'll be interesting to see if it gets to that point and I think it would be even more interesting to see what that would do for Perry's game/confidence.

Ben Kane 9 years, 3 months ago

I think it's a win for both of them. PE is finally starting to figure things out and could be one breakout game away. KYs energy and enthuism is more useful coming off the bench, specially if he still plays 20-25 minutes.

Matt Tait 9 years, 3 months ago

Agree. I really don't think Young would feel slighted at all if he started being the sixth man. If anything, I could see him bringing even more energy.

Ben Kane 9 years, 3 months ago

exactly. i don't think it's a slight on him at all. He's been incredible so far this year.

hawk316 9 years, 3 months ago

Two comments: First, I agree with you, Matt, concerning Weis's character. I've been very impressed with how he's handled himself since coming to KU. Definitely very classy. Your observations further enhance that opinion. Thanks.

Secondly, I, too, believe that the team would be much better served if Young comes off the bench as a 6th man, and Ellis starts...when he's ready to step into that role. It looks like it's coming...

Michael Maris 9 years, 3 months ago

Pretty tired of the Manti Te'o story. Hopefully, this all will end soon! ESPN and ABC and other media outlets have nothing better to talk about than some so called internet relationship? Then, they need to get out of the sports business.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 3 months ago

Here's a list of all the $():'s I give about Te'o

jhox 9 years, 3 months ago

He's wise to stay out of it, but it is also common sense for him to stay out of it. I would have been disappointed if he handled any other way.

However, if there is a postive to this issue as it relates to Weiss, it is that Te'o has reached out to Weiss for his advice on the situation. That says a lot about Weiss, that a former player who no longer has football ties to him still thinks enough of him to seek his advice.

Matt Tait 9 years, 3 months ago

Well said, but I still think it's worth pointing out. I know there are a few of his former coaches who went out there and talked about the situation whenever and wherever they could and they did not have near the connection to Te'o as Weis did/does.

Not trying to say Weis deserves an award, I just thought it was interesting and that people might like to hear about it.

swunruh 9 years, 3 months ago

Great topic. Glad you wrote about it.

ArgyleJayhawks 9 years, 3 months ago

In my opinion, there is a difference between saying it is interesting and saying it reveals his true character.

ArgyleJayhawks 9 years, 3 months ago

Not commenting shows his true character? Not sure I'm buying that Matt. I get that it could be called a honorable move (not knowing his motivation, of course) but using it as a true character test? Maybe he was just busy.

Matt Tait 9 years, 3 months ago

Fair enough.

I do know that it wasn't because he was just busy, though. And I also think that it shows a side of Weis that most people don't think or refuse to admit exists.

ArgyleJayhawks 9 years, 3 months ago

Who refuses to admit it? No one in the local media says anything bad about him. He even got a free pass for going after the student newspaper. The national media is obviously a different story. I guess I just didn't get why you made such a strong correlation between him not commenting and his true character, regardless of the motivations they gave you for his not commenting. Just seemed super puffy to me.

John Randall 9 years, 3 months ago

I, for one, think Weis handled the situation well – in a way that added almost nothing to the hoopla and media frenzy. He didn't even 'refuse' to comment, which would have opened another avenue to news hounds – he simply 'declined' to join in the public flagellation of one of his friends. Good stance by a good man, IMO.

John Randall 9 years, 3 months ago

You must have had a brave English teacher – most spend as little time as possible on the conjugation of those particular verbs.

jay_cheese 9 years, 3 months ago

Color me confused. We all agree Weis knows Teo....especially 4/5 yrs ago. We all agree that Weis wasn't around Teo this past season. Teo had a very bizarre, and well publicated, personal situation this past season. It should be NO shock that Weis has no opinion on said situation...yet that concept is newsworthy? I guess if you maybe only win a game or two it certainly is.?.?

Signing day is only a few weeks away. I would have LIKED to read Weis's opinion on that instead of a fluffy piece. Let's hope that "doing nothing" is not what Weis is continued to be known for at KU.

Matt Tait 9 years, 3 months ago

Two things:

  1. You clearly are confused since the point of the blog was not to let everyone know that Weis did not have an opinion but to let people know that Weis kept that opinion to himself even while talking regularly with the man in the middle of it.

  2. Weis cannot comment on any of the players he is recruiting until after they have signed.

We've got plenty planned for signing day (Feb. 6) and the coming weeks. This was merely a blog for the people who might care. If you don't, that's more than OK.

John Randall 9 years, 3 months ago

Matt, that dart could have used some more Zing. Probably prudent to let it slide, since it would go over the head.

Zach_Davis 9 years, 3 months ago

Did you read about how much I care about this?

Well, in case you missed it, here is my comment: “–––––––––––––––”

LakeShawnee 9 years, 3 months ago

Weis. Charlie Weis. Not Weiss, but Weis. It's not that hard.

Michael Collins 9 years, 3 months ago

I don't read about a man's character that often; but, when I do, I read the articles with unnamed sources. Stay thirsty for knowledge, my friends.

Phil Leister 9 years, 3 months ago

What a ridiculous article. Matt, you sell Weis short. It doesn't take something like this to reveal his true character. No one would have expected Weis to call a press conference in Lawrence,KS to discuss a humiliating story of a player he coached years ago. Normally your work is spot on, but this was completely unnecessary.

Matt Tait 9 years, 3 months ago

Fair enough. Again, I just thought it was interesting that Te'o was calling Weis regularly asking for guidance. Maybe that's the point I should've emphasized but I also think that there are a ton of people out there who believe that calling a press conference and making it about him is something Weis would do and that's just not the case.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 3 months ago

AND Matt has a little better insight in to the number of questions that Weis was getting about Te'o and we have no idea about the volume of calls he was getting requesting comment on the situation, but I'm sure that it was way more than any of us would want to answer. I think that it's fair to say that Weis not commenting on it or issuing a statement shows not only the respect that he has for former players and recruits, but also that he knows better than to use someone else's embarassment to bring a spotlight to himself and his program.

John Randall 9 years, 3 months ago

Being reticent to drawn undeserved attention is unusual enough in the sports world to warrant an occasional mention.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 3 months ago

Matt, well written and well intended. Charlie works for the Univresity of Kansas and is putting what is best for his program at his school above any personal recognition or media glory.

I think that, by far, the best course of acton regarding this "event" is run as far away and as fast as one can. They say "silence is golden' this case it's platinum!!

Jeffery Barrett 9 years, 3 months ago

Matt, don't listen to what these knuckleheads say that tearing you and this article down. Thanks for writing this story and keep up the good work. I never really followed Coach Weis before he took the job at KU and it's interesting to read things about him and any other coach at KU. Thanks again.

actorman 9 years, 3 months ago

Hear, hear! I'm glad that at least some of us can appreciate why you wrote this. Ignore the knuckleheads who are ripping you, Matt. I thought it made a good point about Weis's character.

Eric Bernauer 9 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for the article. This is not a major story and Matt doesn't promote it as such. However, for some of us Jayhawk fans, a peek at a snippet of our coaches character is interesting. Not only the fact that he chose not to become part of a personal but widely publcized story and also the fact that a former player would seek his guidance out at time of need. Both speak well of our coach regardless of whether this had something to do with X's and O's or recruiting. The whole affair shouldn't have been national news, but that it was speaks poorly of both the media hunger for stories and those who inject themselves into the stories seeking to bring some silly attention to themselves. Yes this was not a ground shaking story for many if not most KU fans, but for some of us sickos, anything Jayhawk, we want to know.

actorman 9 years, 3 months ago

I agree with most of what you say, waymilky. However, I don't agree that it shouldn't have been national news. Yes, it's a bizarre and uncomfortable story, but it's such an unusual situation that it's definitely newsworthy, and it also may shed some light on these types of hoaxes so that others don't fall victim to it.

Of course the media has done what it usually does with stories like these: beaten it into the ground. And I also think it's ridiculous that it should have any effect whatsoever on Te'o's draft status. But I do think it was newsworthy in the first place.

jay_cheese 9 years, 3 months ago

OK. Covering KU football is a challenge...not much long (or short) term success. We're still paying off two coaches so CW isn't going anywhere anytime soon regardless or opinions or results. To those who didn't pay attention to his prior gigs, I'll be polite by saying let's hope past performance is NOT indicitive of future results and leave it at that.

I get the coach can't name specific recruits but there's nothing wrong with saying here's the position holes left to fill in last few weeks and you (not coach) naming which targets which might fill the void.

CW does't play nice with media (see his callout of the Kansan a few months back, lack of interviews unless he's headcoach, etc.). You're either in or out. If you're job is to cover the team then you have to be in. I won't question you again Matt, I think I know get it....

Matt Tait 9 years, 3 months ago

No problem whatsoever with you questioning me or what I write. I often appreciate it and certainly believe everyone has the right to do it.

Truth be told, it's been awfully quiet on the recruiting front lately and, really, the entire KU football front. That won't last much longer, but that's the case for now.

In case you missed it, we covered the heck out of recruiting the entire month of December and many of those stories even rivaled what kind of traffic we were getting from our basketball coverage. There's more where that came from and Spring practice is only a month away.

Gotta get there first, though. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great night!

canuckhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

I wish I didn't agree with your third paragraph so much.

friendlyjhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

Te'o is a very troubled young man who has some physical prowess but no maturity or common sense. Who cares about this anyway? There are more scams on the internet then truths Every age group can be a scam victim but that is also not newsworthy. He let himself be led into all this nonsense and couldn't even tell the truth for a while. Good job of parenting folks.

Sam Constance 9 years, 3 months ago

It's a blog people. This is exactly the kind of content that is appropriate for a blog

I, for one, appreciated it. I love the fact that KU's current coach figureheads seem to be quality people in addition to being good at their jobs.

Cody Riedy 9 years, 3 months ago

Matt and the LJWorld provide great coverage of KU sports and through this website, a great venue for KU fans to not only communicate with each other, but directly with the journalists. It's a great service. Perhaps it's this close connection that emboldens so many people to be armchair journalists and critique the writers here all the time. In any case, it gets really obnoxious. It's really bad with Keegan. At times I wonder if there's some kind of running inside joke I don't know about, because otherwise, how could you explain so many people on a sports website being so passionate about critiquing one's expository writing skills.

Jackster 9 years, 3 months ago

What Te'o fiasco? This is the first that I've heard about it. What happened?

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 3 months ago

I posted some made up 1-900-obscene number, but decided I didn't want you to actually try to call it.

Kansasballer2020 9 years, 3 months ago

Appreciate the articles Matt, apologize for these rough fans. Don't care? Simple, don't comment.

David Gisi 9 years, 3 months ago

Matt is right on the money here in regard to Weis. I think that Weis actually changed quite a bit after the ND situation, for the better. I don't know of a single person that dealt with him on campus that actually liked him. Once you got past the press conference arrogance, he was widely considered to just be rude and condescending. He has always shown the "caring side" when it came to his daughter's charity and so forth, but in every day life did not treat people well. Perhaps many KU people just aren't aware of the "book" on Weis, so they don't understand the point Matt is trying to make. But it is a very valid point in regard to the way many people view him. People change. Good observation, Matt.

qringer 9 years, 3 months ago

Great point. I heard those same things about Weis, but have been pleasantly surprised by his character.

Jeremy Paul 9 years, 3 months ago

Matt, I just want to say that I think you do a great job. Your articles are always informative and well-reasoned. I trust what you have to say. And I can say that about a lot of writers. But what I CAN'T say about other writers is that you actually get involved in the conversation. Most journalists just write a piece and then hide, but you actually engage the readers and have an intelligent conversation with us. Thank you, and keep up the good work!

Matt Tait 9 years, 3 months ago

Glad you appreciate it. It's my pleasure.

milehighhawk 9 years, 3 months ago


PSM 9 years, 3 months ago

I heard Te'o couldn't fall asleep unless Charlie Weis was on the phone with him all night.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

Matt, coming from an industry where people open themselves and their hard work up to criticism and scorn everyday -- knowing no matter what at least some portion of the public will attempt to belittle what they've done simply for the joy of putting someone else down -- I just wanted to say I completely sympathize with the crap you have to put up with sometimes. For the record, I found this piece very relevant with great insight and certainly worth my time, and I'm quite confident that I'm not alone in feeling that way. But even if I didn't, I also realize I have the power to click on the infinite number of other news/information pieces out there on the world wide web and move on without having to put someone else down just to make myself feel better. But keep doing what you are doing, Matt. There are a large number of us that greatly appreciate the very hard work that you do everyday.

Although, I will admit, I could have used a percentage wheel mixed in there somewhere... ;-)

Thanks for the piece.

machinegun 9 years, 3 months ago

I enjoy reading all of the Matt Tait articles. Keegan is a different story. I especially enjoy reading articles about Coach Charlie Weis. He is a real character!

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 3 months ago

Matt - Good article.

Rest of you bashing it - Write your own.

In case you didn't's freakin January. Not much football news going on. Personally, I've always wondered about how this situation would affect or not affect Weis. Considering HE RECRUITED THE GUY, it is pertanent information.

The subject matter was self-explanatory in the headline. If it didn't interest you, you shouldn't have clicked on it.

Clearly you mighty connoisseurs of the digitally-written realm have a better stories to read....and apparently write.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 3 months ago

And I'd like to follow that up with, "Thanks Matt...for continuing to be our professional and talented liaison to the KU football program."

CrystalJones 9 years, 3 months ago

Why on earth would he say anything? I don't find his silence particularly remarkable or insightful about his character. Oh, I think Coach Weis has great character, but it's unlikely that most coaches might have held a press conference or volunteered information. What on earth would be the point?

I fall into the camp that thinks that it's hardly worth a story or even worth mentioning.

vd 9 years, 3 months ago

How would have Gill handled the situation? Pinkle? Snyder? Brown? Stoops? Any different? Had ND won the NC, you can be assured CW would have benn front and center. He would have been on every sports show, congratulating his recruits.

Pamela Shanks 9 years, 3 months ago

How would Gill have handled it? Now that would be a blog post for which I think we can all safely say, "I don't care!!"

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