In leadership, there is a concept known as the Peter Principle. The Peter Principle simply asserts that a person will rise to their highest level of incompetence. In other words, when you succeed at one level you get promoted on to the next until you stop succeeding. This is why everybody thinks their boss is either a genius or an idiot. It also plays out in coaching quite starkly. For example, take Charlie Weis.
Charlie Weis has four Super Bowl rings. That is a lot. He earned three of them as the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. He then parlayed that success into a head coaching position at Notre Dame in 2005. In the middle of his first year, Notre Dame was so happy with Weis that they paid him in a way that would make Nick Saban envious — signing Weis to a 10-year deal worth $30 to $40 million, depending on bonuses.
After a couple of good seasons, the wheels did not so much as fall off as the whole car spontaneously caught fire. Turns out that coach Weis might be a great assistant-level coach, but he was not a great head coach. His “decided schematic advantage(s)” were not so advantageous. And, his NFL successes did not translate to the college level.
After flaming out at Notre Dame, Weis went back to the coordinator level. He spent a year in the professional ranks as the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. He led one of the more successful offenses in the NFL as the Chiefs celebrated a playoff berth after a 10-6 regular season record. However, his lack of success in the college ranks still bugged him. So, when Will Muschamp and Florida came knocking in 2011, Weis said yes. It was pretty ugly. Florida had one of the worst offenses in the FBS.
During those two years, Kansas was suffering a serious hangover following the removal of coach Mark Mangino. Turner Gill, Mangino’s replacement, lasted all of two seasons. And, in a surprise move, Kansas hired Weis as head coach.
Here is the rub about the Peter Principle, just because you fail at one level does not mean that at a later date you might not be successful, and vise-versa. Kansas was betting that Weis had learned from his mistakes and would help them get back to making, and winning, bowl games.
Unfortunately, things did not go well. Weis took a giant squat all over the current team. Got frustrated, brought in some of his former Notre Dame players and an unhealthy amount of JUCO players. He lasted four games into season three and compiled a 6-22 record at KU.
People laugh and laugh at the failure of Charlie Weis, but here is the thing, Weis has been laughing all the way to the bank.
The final numbers of the Notre Dame and Kansas buyouts are in. All-in-all, Weis was paid $18.97 million by Notre Dame and $5.625 by Kansas, a whopping $24.6 million in total, to not coach football at their schools. Not bad for six seasons worth of work.