Brian Kelly led Notre Dame to the 2012 BCS title game. That year, the school paid him about $1.5 million to coach the Fighting Irish.
Charlie Weis was fired by Notre Dame in 2009. In 2012, the same year Kelly was leading Notre Dame back to national prominence, the school paid Weis about $2.1 million to not coach the Fighting Irish.
ESPN obtained the school’s federal tax return on Wednesday, and its findings are a horror show of bad coaching-contract decisions whose repercussions won’t be over anytime soon.
Notre Dame paid Weis $2,054,774 for the reporting period of July 2012 through June 2013, according to the university’s federal tax return, which was provided to ESPN.com on Wednesday. The sum paid to Weis to not coach the Irish — already at a total of $12,802,635 –could end up exceeding $18 million by next winter, as he has now received three straight payments of $2,054,744 from Notre Dame, following an initial payment of $6,638,403 after his firing. Notre Dame is scheduled for “additional annual payments” through Dec. 2015, so three more payments of what Weis received in the previous three years means his total buyout money from the school would total $18,966,867.
Per USA Today, Weis “received more money from the school in 2012 than did any current athletics employee.” I repeat: This is a former coach.
Weis spent five seasons as Notre Dame’s coach, leading the Irish to the Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl in his first two seasons but then going a combined 16-21 over his final three. He’s about to begin his third season as coach at Kansas, compiling a 4-20 record in his first two. Last year, according to USA Today’s database of coaches’ salaries, he made $2.5 million to coach the Jayhawks.
Weis has a five-year contract with Kansas, which he signed in December 2011. If he is fired without cause after this season — like, say, not improving on that 4-20 record — Kansas will have to pay him about $5 million for the remaining two years of his contract.
In other words, if Weis is fired after this season, he will get paid around $24 million not to coach two football teams.