On the astounding meter, Charlie Weis Jr.'s breakneck ascension up the collegiate coaching ladder may rank a distant second to a less prominent — but no less staggering — football accomplishment.
A decade or so ago, USF’s first-year offensive coordinator transformed his stout teenage body in a matter of months, evolving into a sure-handed slot receiver at St. Pius X High in Kansas City in his lone year of organized football.
“He really went down from like, 215 (pounds) to 150,” said his dad, former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis. “He didn’t start (for St. Pius), but he played, but I think it was a very good learning experience for him.”
Weis Jr.'s physical overhaul occurred once his dad was hired as Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator following his dismissal as Irish coach at the end of the 2009 season. Around that time, father and son encountered pro football hall of famer (and University of Kansas alumnus) Gale Sayers, who encouraged the younger Weis to play football as a senior.
“I was kind of going back and forth on it,” Weis Jr. said. “And then ... everybody thought it was a good idea.”
With the help of a cousin, Weis Jr. embarked on P90X, the home DVD exercise program that assures noticeable results in 90 days. He also modified his diet, swearing off fast food.
“They went like absolute madmen for three months,” the elder Weis said.
That fall, Weis Jr. helped St. Pius (6-4) to Missouri’s Class 3 playoffs, recovering an onside kick for the “good-hands” team to preserve a late-season victory. Then it was off the University of Kansas, where he served as a team manager for his dad, who had been hired as Jayhawks coach.
“When he would come back and visit, everybody was shocked,” said Ben Downey, former coach at Saint Joseph High in South Bend, where the younger Weis had worked as a student assistant.
“He looked like a completely different person. No. 1, it’s always hard to transform your body like that. But to do it that young, it’s rare.”