Advice to Weis from a guy who wanted him to keep his job

To: Charlie Weis
From: The guy who wrote that Notre Dame shouldn't fire you
Re: Your future

Whew, that was close. For a minute there, I thought Notre Dame was going to Tommy Tuberville/Phillip Fulmer you and do what Auburn and Tennessee did: swallow hard and write that monster buyout check.

I've been told the buyout figure for your contract was a little more than $12 million. I also heard Notre Dame thought long and hard about making you the fourth ex-Fighting Irish coach in eight years.

Maybe it was that buyout figure that helped save you. Even for Notre Dame, a place with deep pockets and big-money supporters, that's no small chunk of change. After all, ND does its accounting a little different than most schools. It has what's called a "zero base budget," which means almost everything (NBC money, bowl payouts, gate receipts, etc.) goes into a university fund. The athletic department submits a budget, and the university uses a portion of the funds to bankroll that budget.

With the economy in the dumper and people thinking twice about making endowments, Notre Dame might have made the decision to keep you based partly on its wallet size. There was the cost of your buyout, the cost of a new coach, the possible cost of a new coach's buyout, and the cost of paying off the old coaching staff and paying for a new staff. It adds up fast.

Maybe Notre Dame wanted to give you what it didn't give Tyrone Willingham -- a full five-year commitment and some much-needed stability.

Maybe it was worried about the next recruiting class.

Or maybe it truly thinks Year 5 of your regime will be better than Years 3 and 4.

Whatever the reason, you got a reprieve. So, big guy, what are you going to do about it?

I've got five suggestions. Actually, they're not all mine. Some of them are courtesy of people in your profession, people who have stood on the sidelines, sat behind a coach's desk, spent their lives in the business of college football. Some of them are from athletic directors and heavy-hitter administrators. They see your management style, and well, they're not impressed.

What does your coaching idol Bill Parcells always say? You are your record.

Your record during the past two seasons is a school-worst 9-15. You're 0-for-4 against USC. I'm not sure you could defeat the Song Girls. You've lost both of your bowl games. You don't have a signature victory. So it's pretty much time to quit flashing your Super Bowl rings to recruits and bragging about your schematic brain power.

We know you're a Jersey guy with Jersey guy sensibilities. But you're not Parcells. And you're not Bob Knight. Or Bill Belichick.

So quit pretending you are who you aren't. Quit bullying people. Quit with the arrogance. You've won nothing at the college level.

Some of your critics say you're an imitator, not a leader. They say they're not sure you can change your ways, that you're afraid to delegate and trust.

You used to call the plays. Then you handed those duties to your offensive coordinator, Mike Haywood. Then you took them back for the last three games of the season. The result: 14, 23 and three offensive points, losses to Syracuse and USC (including just four first downs, 41 passing yards and 91 total yards in the fourth consecutive loss to the Trojans) and still no offensive identity.

It isn't a coincidence that the head coaches of the top five teams in the BCS don't call the plays. That's why you hire coordinators. Sure, consult and advise, but either be a head coach or don't. Allow your assistants to do their jobs. Isn't that what you ask of your own bosses?

Look at your staff. You need someone willing to stand up in a coaches' meeting and say, "Charlie, you're wrong."

Do you have someone like that? Can you handle someone like that? Because if you don't, or if you can't, you'll never succeed at Notre Dame. You need to allow, even encourage, dissent, even if that dissent annoys you.

You can't constantly overpower your staff with your personality. If you do, eventually your assistants are going to quit trying to offer alternative views.

You can redshirt on the back end. You can get incoming freshmen in time for winter workouts and spring practice. You're on the same page as your dean of admissions.

In 2009, your slightly dumbed down playing schedule features only four true road games. You face Nevada, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue (new coach), Washington (new coach), USC (sadly for you, same coach), Boston College, Washington State, Navy, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Stanford.

Meanwhile, your highly touted roster will be a year older and will feature an experienced third-year quarterback (Jimmy Clausen) or, who knows, maybe a sophomore quarterback named Dayne Crist. And your fourth consecutive highly ranked recruiting class will be there.

In 2010 -- if you're still around -- the schedule gets tougher.

For now, athletic director Jack Swarbrick has staved off the fans, donors and trustee members who want you gone. Swarbrick made the decision to keep you. Now reward him with things you can control: better working relationships, more patience with your staff and players, building team confidence rather than simply demanding it.

Parcells is right -- you are your record. Not just wins and losses, but your personal legacy.
Had you been fired Wednesday, what would have been yours?

Gene Wojciechowski is a senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at gene.wojciechowski@espn3.com.