LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 29: Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Charlie Weis and head coach Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans shake hands following the game at the Memorial Coliseum on November 29, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. USC defeated Notre Dame 38-3. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
In an interview on his way out the door with a Notre Dame publication, Weis was talking about the scrutiny he faced as Notre Dame coach and how that was unfair.
"Let me ask you this question: You guys know about things that go on in different places. Was I living with a grad student in Malibu, or was I living with my wife in my house? You could bet that if I were living with a grad student here in South Bend, it would be national news. He's doing it in Malibu and it's not national news. What's the difference? I don't understand. Why is it [OK] for one guy to do things like that, but for me, I'm scrutinized when I swear. I'm sorry for swearing; absolve my sins."
Of course, there’s an obvious difference here, and it's not just the simple question of who would a grad student be most likely to shack up with, Charlie Weis or Pete Carroll.
Weis was the most visible man at the nation’s leading Catholic university — being a family man there matters. It’s part of the image. Not that USC wants Carroll to be going Lindsay Lohan around LA, but if he is shacking up with a grad student in Malibu, about the only people who care are the editors at TMZ.com. Seeing an older, rich, famous guy with a younger woman in Los Angeles is called Tuesday. It’s de rigeur.
Carroll seemed offended but largely took the high road, saying, “It's untrue, it's irresponsible.” He even showed class, adding that he knows how hard it is to be fired and the emotions that go with that.
Within 24 hours, Weis had called Carroll to apologize and complained that the comments were from an off-the-record side conversation with reporters and that it was taken out of context from that.
"In no way would I be disrespectful to that guy," and, "All I know is that he kicked the crap out of me five times."
Weis and his bravado and ego was something Notre Dame welcomed, but as a coach Weis could not back it up. He was fired from his alma mater, and his ego took a big hit. So he took a swing at a rival in frustration.
And once again, as it had been on the field, Carroll took what Weis could throw at him and came out on top. Weis was retreating, apologizing, and Carroll was standing there without any mud on his white shirt. As it was on the field, USC bested Notre Dame. Again.