Kansas football coach Charlie Weis graduated from Notre Dame, and like most college alums, holds his alma mater in high esteem.
Weis made it very clear Tuesday that he feels there's something special about the men who've run out of the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium, tabbing two former Fighting Irish players as the first two new members of his staff at KU.
Weis hired Tim Grunhard, a Bishop Miege coach who played on the 1988 national championship team at Notre Dame before being drafted by the Chiefs, to coach the Jayhawks' offensive line. Later in the day, Weis announced that Ron Powlus, who quarterbacked Notre Dame during 1994-97 and coached quarterbacks for three seasons under Weis in South Bend from 2007-09, will coach KU's signal callers.
Grunhard and Powlus join recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Reggie Mitchell, who was held over from Turner Gill's staff and must be feeling pretty lonely as a graduate of Central Michigan.
Grunhard appears to be an exciting hire for the Jayhawks. In six seasons at Bishop Miege, the Stags had a record of 41-25 and have on five-straight district titles. Grunhard's crowning achievement came in 2009, when Bishop Miege won the 2009 Class 4A championship with a 12-2 record. Since Grunhard took over Miege, 32 Stags have gone on to play college football — and that doesn't include this year's crop.
Grunhard, who played for the Chiefs during 1990-2000 and went to the Pro Bowl in 1994, is a strategic hire for Weis. As a successful KC high-school football coach, Grunhard has built relationships all over the city that should pay off for him on the recruiting trail. With Missouri leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, a crucial turf war is about to play out with Kansas City's talent.
Powlus served as the passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Akron the past two seasons. Prior to that, he coached former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame for three seasons. In 2009, Clausen was named an All-American after throwing for 3,722 yards, 28 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Powlus was once a highly-touted quarterbacks coming out of high school. His career at Notre Dame wasn't as spectacular as predicted, but he did set 20 school records during four years as the starter.
It's possible Weis will continue his pattern of hiring coaches with Notre Dame backgrounds. Rob Ianello, who was recently fired after going 2-22 in two seasons as coach at Akron, coached wide receivers at Notre Dame during all five years of Weis' tenure.