But they are the two coaches who are drawing the most pub — negative, of course — in this part of the pigskin world.
I’ve certainly not held back any barbs regarding the demise of their two regimes. I’m far from alone.
But I’d like to take a quick look at how the two have handled the rising disgruntlement of their respective schools’ supporters.
Given his physique, Charlie Weis is easily caracatured. I’ve given to calling him Humpty Dumpty. And his arrogance upon accepting the position engendered a quick trigger finger for those ready to fire away at the first sign of failure.
That his former boss, Kevin White, is now at Duke, makes Weis’ exit scenario more palpable. His replacement, Jack Swarbrick, can turn into an Irish hero of the highest order: 1) By terminating Weis’ tenure, 2) Finding an anonymous alum or alums who will pay the obscene buyout, and 3) Placing the next Knute Rockne in the coach’s chair. Swarbrick has already endeared himself to ND fans somewhat by at least acknowledging the situation.
I must admit that Weis has handled the turmoil around him, this season at least, like a mensch. He admits to his failures, says he’d like to stay, but couldn’t argue if a change is made. ($18 mill can soften even the hardest blow.)
Good for him. It almost makes me want to cut the guy some slack.
The same good things sadly can’t be said for Steve Kragthorpe. Nor his boss.
Obviously SK wants to keep his job. I’ve mentioned repeatedly that he is a most decent fellow. But the facts and stats are what they are. He hasn’t performed. His teams haven’t performed. The signs of progress Cardinal fans have been longing for are yet to appear. Yet Kragthorpe proceeds blithely along without any acceptance of responsibility. It is disconcerting at the very least, disingenuous at worst.
That his boss Tom Jurich has failed to address the situation at all publicly has added to the disenchantment. It is startling behavior by a very public athletic director who once did commercials for several local businesses, such was his positive public persona. Now he would appear to be in hiding from the fans who pay the freight, people who merely wanted some sense that TJ felt their pain.
Charlie Weis, who journeyed to the Golden Dome as if in a horse drawn carriage of royalty, comes across as genuinely chastened, and displaying some humility.
Steve Kragthorpe, if you’ll recall, hung a left into the Papa John’s mens’ room with cameras whirring, before his introductory press conference. Sadly that’s where his game stayed. More than likely, his career at U of L is about to get flushed. Hopefully it won’t come as big a surprise as it seems it might be from his recent statements.
– Seedy K