By Stephen Hawkins
Coaches around the Big 12 conference reacted to news of the firing of former Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis on Sunday after a 2-2 start.
Texas head coach Charlie Strong got his first Big 12 victory Saturday with a 23-0 win at Kansas. The next day, the Jayhawks fired coach Charlie Weis only four games into his third season.
“You develop a relationship with the coaches, and they become your friends, and you hate to see this happen to anyone,” Strong said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “We’re in the business and we understand that there can be pitfalls.”
The Jayhawks are 3-41 in conference games over a six-season span with three different coaches after going to consecutive bowl games in the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Weis was 6-22 overall.
Bill Snyder, the dean of the Big 12 coaches in his 23rd season at Kansas State, called the firing of Weis — or any coach — an unfortunate situation.
“You just trust that they do what they have to do,” Snyder said. “I’m sure everybody feels bad it, but that’s their program and they know far more about it than I do.”
Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen was promoted to interim coach of the Jayhawks (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) for the rest of the season. They play at West Virginia (2-2, 0-1) on Saturday, when Bowen still plans to direct the defense while putting together a plan to get other people to assist as well on the sideline.
While having to quickly adjust to his new role, including the media responsibilities of a head coach, Bowen’s primary focus is on the next game.
“Our immediate plan for this week, as we talked to the players, is really just to operate the same, right now, day to day and hour to hour and minute to minute, and roll through it,” said Bowen. “The most important objective and the one thing we’ve got to do is get through any and all distractions and get our minds on West Virginia for this weekend.”
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said they know the Jayhawks’ players and their personnel, and will prepare for them based on what they have been doing this season.
“We would have to guess if they’re going to make any changes schematically,” he said, pointing out that the Kansas coordinators are still there.