Kansas fires Charlie Weis

After he won only one Big 12 game during his tenure at Kansas, the Jayhawks have fired head coach Charlie Weis.

He was in the third year of a five-year contract.

Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen will take over as interim head coach, athletic director Sheahon Zenger said.

"I normally do not favor changing coaches mid-season," Zenger said in a statement. "But I believe we have talented coaches and players in this program, and I think this decision gives our players the best chance to begin making progress right away."

Weis went 6-22 at Kansas and won one of 19 conference games, his only Big 12 victory coming last year against West Virginia. Weis also only had two other victories against FBS competition. He is the second coach in a row to be dismissed at Kansas before reaching the end of his contract. Weis replaced Turner Gill, who was let go after the 2011 season.

Kansas announced Weis' firing a day after the Jayhawks' 23-0 loss to Texas on Saturday.

"I appreciate what Coach Weis did with several facets of our football program," Zenger said. "But we have not made the on-the-field progress we believe we should. I believe new leadership gives our coaches and players the best chance to make a fresh start."

Despite Weis' background as an offensive coordinator, the Jayhawks had struggled on that side of the ball under his leadership. Kansas ranked last in the Big 12 in scoring in 2012 and 2013, and is last at the moment again with an average of 15.3 points per game.

On the heels of Gill's 2-10 season in 2011, Weis took immediate action as his successor, and quickly ran 29 players off the team, citing a need to clean house. But such a drastic mass exodus also drained much of the talent and depth from a program already hurting for both.

"I miscalculated the impact of when I threw 29 guys off the team the first year I was there," Weis said during Big 12 media days this summer. "I walked in there; there were a lot of issues I felt had to be resolved and one of the ways to resolve them was to get rid of them."

Weis attempted to replenish his roster by relying on recruiting junior college players. He also brought in a pair of high-profile transfers at quarterback in Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps. Crist transferred to Kansas from Notre Dame for his senior season in 2011, but was eventually benched by Weis after completing less than 50 percent of his passes. Heaps arrived from BYU, but he too lost his playing time to true freshman Montell Cozart, and transferred to Miami before this season.

Behind Cozart and new offensive coordinator John Reagan, Weis seemed optimistic coming into this season that an offense that had been abysmal would finally turn around this season.

But after falling 41-3 at Duke in their second game, the Jayhawks were shut out at home Saturday by Texas. Cozart threw four interceptions in the loss.

"Our Achilles' heel on offense is still making productive plays in the passing game," Weis said afterward. "And that's at the end of the day what ended up costing us."

On-field results, however, weren't the only factor that cost Weis his job. Kansas announced an attendance of just 36,904 for Texas, even after Weis pleaded with fans leading up to the game to fill Memorial Stadium.

In 2013, Kansas ranked last in the Big 12 with an average attendance of just 37,844, and that was down a Big 12-worst 8.3 percent from the previous season.

"As we continue to elevate the national stature of the University of Kansas, our pursuit of excellence extends beyond our research and instructional missions," said KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. "KU alumni, students, fans and supporters expect that Kansas Football will match the other areas in which we excel as a university. After consulting with Dr. Zenger, I am in agreement that it is time for new leadership of our football program."

According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Weis was making $2.5 million a year, and will still receive the full $7 million-plus still owed him.

Bowen, who grew up in Lawrence and played linebacker for the Jayhawks in the early 1990s, has been an assistant coach at Kansas since 1998, with the exception of the 2010 and 2011 seasons, when he served as defensive coordinator for Western Kentucky and North Texas, respectively.