MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The Big 12 Conference welcomed only one new coach in the offseason, but few others in the business have a profile as great as Kansas' Charlie Weis.
A Super Bowl-winning offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots and then the decreasingly successful coach at Notre Dame, Weis used assistant coaching stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Florida Gators as a springboard back into a head coaching position this season.
"I was offered other jobs for a lot more money, just so you know that," he said, pushing back against the suggestion he was desperate to be in charge again, but declining to name the other opportunities.
"What's important is why I did take this job, and let's look at it from my perspective," he said. "You're coming into a team that was 3-9 two years ago and 2-10 last year. Not so long ago, it's 2007 and 2008, and they're playing in the Orange Bowl and the Insight Bowl and winning. It wasn't like it was 20 years ago now, OK? It was a short time frame ago that that football program was playing in bowl games and winning.
"So you say, 'OK, they were there, they're here, what happened? How did they get from here to here and then how do you get back up?' And to be honest with you, I think it's a very challenging situation."
The Jayhawks, who play West Virginia at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ROOT Sports, started 11-0 for the first time in school history in 2007 and were closing in on the top spot in the BCS ratings. They lost to Missouri in the regular season finale, but beat Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
Kansas was 8-5 a year later and then 5-7 with a 1-7 Big 12 mark in 2009. Coach Mark Mangino was fired after the '09 season for alleged mistreatment of players. The team turned to University of Buffalo Coach Turner Gill, but he went 5-19 and was fired after losing the final 10 games of the 2011 season.
The school then turned to Weis, who had worked nearby with the Chiefs as offensive coordinator in 2010 before returning to college as Florida's offensive coordinator a year later.
"You're sitting down in Gainesville. You get offered this job. So what do you do? You look at your two closest competitors - proximity-wise, your two closest competitors. So you look at Kansas State and you look at Missouri. How are they doing?" Weis said. "I'm saying, 'OK, the two schools that are in the closest proximity are both doing fairly well.'
"So then my job, once I took the job, was, 'Let's figure out why they're doing fairly well and see if we can't close the gap on them quicker than they would like us to.' And you look at what both those programs are doing, solid, winning programs, I think that that's one of the reasons that gave me reason for optimism, because there's no reason why you can't add a third one into the mix and become more competitive."
The Jayhawks are 1-10 and 0-9 in the Big 12. They've lost 21 consecutive conference games. The previous Big 12 win was Nov. 6, 2010, against Colorado, which is now in the Pac-12. The last conference win against a current Big 12 team was Oct. 10, 2009, against Iowa State.
"Time frame, I can't give you, but I can tell you there are already two teams doing it, which tells you that it obviously can be done," Weis said.
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