LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 10: New head football coach Charlie Weis of the Kansas Jayhawks adresses the arena during halftime of the game between the Jayhawks and the Ohio State Buckeyes on December 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Starting with new head coach Charlie Weis, the Notre Dame roots are starting to grow at Kansas.
New Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis has wasted little time filling out and making changes to his coaching staff, which is the prerogative of all head coaches. But with this one, there is a definite Notre Dame influence taking shape.
This should bode well for the Jayhawks' recruiting effort as National Signing Day approaches, but the KU faithful are hoping that it finally translates into something good and lasting on the football field.
Weis, who was the head coach of the Fighting Irish from 2005-2008 announced Tuesday that Notre Dame alum and former Kansas City Chiefs center Tim Grunhard would be joining his coaching staff to work with the offensive lineman. At the same time, Weis disclosed that Ron Powlus, who quarterbacked Notre Dame from 1994-97, was coming to Lawrence to coach the Jayhawk quarterbacks.
I'm not so sure about Powlus' credentials as a coach or instructor, but I know he wasn't all that impressive as a college player. I do know that he was touted one of the country's blue-chip recruits coming out of high school, but like so many, he failed to live up to lofty expectations assigned to him at the next level. The bar may have been set a bit too high for Powlus at Notre Dame, but he did leave a solid legacy, setting 20 school records in his four seasons in South Bend. Before accepting the offer to join Weis at Kansas, Powlus was the passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Akron, where he has been the past two years.
Grunhard, on the other hand, is an excellent hire, and more than as just a football coach. For six seasons, the former Chiefs Pro-Bowl center and second-round draft pick has been coaching high school football in the Greater Kansas City area at Bishop Miege - on the Kansas side of the state line, of course. Grunhard's record at Bishop Miege was 41-25, and in 2007, the Stags finished 12-2 and went on to win the Kansas Class 4A state championship. In the six years he has been at Miege, 32 of his players have gone on to play college football, including in the Big 12.
"Grunny," as he is called by his former teammates and close friends, will be a strong asset for Weis and the Jayhawks on the recruiting trail, and especially in the Kansas City area, where Grunhard has built many meaningful relationships in his 20-plus years in the area. In addition to being a fertile ground for collegiate prospects for Kansas, the Kansas City area also is heavily recruited by the coaching staffs of Missouri, soon to become a member of the Southeastern Conference, and Kansas State.
It is not known at this time what Weis will do with the offensive and defensive coordinator roles currently held by David Beaty and Buddy Wyatt, respectively. Weis did announce that he will retain Reggie Mitchell as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator.