Jan. 8, 2005
SportsLine.com wire reports

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- New Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis told fans at an Irish basketball game Saturday that he's proud to be back at his alma mater and ready to begin work to turn the team back into a college football power.


"Hopefully in a short, a very short period of time, we'll get back to where everyone wants to be, because I don't like losing," he told 11,014 fans on hand for the game against Villanova, which the Irish won 78-72.

Weis, who a day earlier had described his planned halftime appearance as part of a "dog and pony show," received an ovation when he entered the arena and three standing ovations during his four-minute halftime speech.

Weis was hired Dec. 12, nearly two weeks after Tyrone Willingham was fired. Willingham, who made a similar appearance at halftime of a Notre Dame basketball game against Kentucky three years earlier, was fired after posting a 21-15 record at Notre Dame.

Weis hosted a recruiting weekend at Notre Dame before leaving Saturday night to return to New England to begin playoff preparations with the Patriots. Weis will continue as offensive coordinator for the Patriots through the end of the season.

He told the crowd he was eager to get to work at Notre Dame, but he doesn't want to be the full-time Irish coach until after Feb. 6 -- the day of the Super Bowl. When Weis said that, someone in the stands yelled, "Go Steelers."

"I heard that Steelers comment," Weis said, as the crowd laughed.

Weis said he appreciated the applause of the fans, but wondered how long the good feeling would last.

"As much as I appreciate the appreciation you've shown today, this is a bottom-line business," he said. "You didn't bring me here to lose.

"Let's see if you're clapping on Sept. 3, after we go to Pittsburgh," he said, referring to Notre Dame's opening game next season. "More importantly, let's see if you're clapping on Oct. 15 when that team from California (USC) comes here. Between you and me, I hope they're undefeated."

The two-time defending national champion Trojans have beaten the Irish by 31 points for three straight seasons, the last time three days before Willingham was fired.

The Associated Press News Service

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