Charlie Weis got his Christmas present a day early this year.
On Christmas Eve, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish stopped a nine-game bowl losing skid and beat Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl to finish the season at 7-6.
After another embarrassing season for the Notre Dame football program, Weis did the only thing he could do to save face:
He won the game.
He'll need to keep winning games if he wants to keep his job.
I've been asked it seems a thousand times over the past few months, "Should Charlie Weis be retained as the football coach at Notre Dame?"
My answer is I don't think he deserves to be fired. Not yet, anyway.
Although this program continues to be embarrassed by its mediocrity and hasn't lived up to the expectations of its fans, or even the coach himself, I believe they are in a better place than when Weis arrived.
Still, it is not good enough.
Notre Dame did the right thing in resisting the pressure from the relentless media and even its own fans in giving Weis another year.
I think they are close to being a very good team. The questions that dog the program come from the past two months.
In the middle of the year, I was happy with their progress. The Irish had just gone on the road and outplayed North Carolina - but lost.
From there, the regression began.
Losses to Pitt, Boston College, Syracuse and USC followed.
The team played without passion. The playcalling was appalling. The offensive line was, well, offensive.
This all can be put on Weis.
I just don't think it is enough to terminate his contract. This is the same guy that guided the team to two BCS games and got recruits to come back to the university.
And, yes, this is different than it was with Tyrone Willingham, who didn't recruit as well, and, as he proved later at Washington, was in over his head.
With the pieces in place for the first time since Lou Holtz was coach, it is time for Weis to prove he is not just a "pro-style" coach, that he can adapt to the college game, and that he can fulfill the promises he made four years ago.
We're losing our patience.
Brian Irwin, a 1994 Notre Dame graduate, comments occasionally on the Fighting Irish for the Voice of the Fan. He resides in Altoona.