By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Kansas University head football coach Charlie Weis wasn’t about to make any bold predictions on the upcoming football season, but he was crystal clear on how success would be measured.
“Wins and losses,” he told a crowd of Jayhawk fans and alumni Thursday in the Seward County Ag Building.
The Jayhawks went 1-11 in his first season while he addressed other issues with the team to create an atmosphere where success can be achieved.
“I dismissed 29 players when I got here,” he said. “There was an attitude of entitlement. That’s one thing when you’re winning, but when you’re losing and you have that sense of entitlement, you have a real problem.”
The Jayhawks have been on a downward spiral since winning the Orange Bowl in 2007. That year, the Jayhawks were 12-1. They slipped to 8-5 in 2008 but won the Insight.com Bowl.
Mark Mangino’s last season as head coach ended with a 5-7 record in 2009, and Turner Gill took over the program for two disappointing seasons, turning in records of 3-9 and 2-10.
The program bottomed out in the beginning of the rebuilding process under Weis last season at 1-11.
“I didn’t know how the program went from good to so bad so fast,” Weis said. “That’s hard to do. It’s almost harder than going from bad to good.”
According to KU Athletic Director Dr. Sheahon Zenger, he brought Weis to Kansas to turn the program around while not trying to experiment with the job. Weis had a proven record of success. Zenger also wanted someone who would hold a higher standard off the field.
While the wins did not come last season, Zenger said the class was the most academically successful in the history of the school.
Weis quipped that when he was contacted about interviewing with Kansas, his wife asked who was calling.
“Kansas,” Weis said he told his wife.
“The Chiefs?” she asked.
“No, the University of Kansas?” he replied.
“Isn’t that a basketball school?” she asked.
That was an added challenge for Weis, coming to Kansas to enhance a football program in the shadow of Allen Fieldhouse.
But Weis was not new to the rebuilding process.
“I have been involved with a few reclamation projects,” he said.
It starts with getting quality players, and Weis said there would be an improvement in Lawrence from 2012 to 2013 in terms of players on the field.
“We will be better at the quarterback position,” he said. “But I think the biggest difference will be our defense. We will be better at every position on the field.”
Weis, along with associate head coach Dave Campo, have a combined 39 years of NFL experience and seven Super Bowl rings.
That allure, along with attractive facilities, has helped Weis recruit.
“If we get them on campus, we have a 75 percent chance of getting them,” he said.
How many wins does Weis expect?
“I have a number,” he said.