SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Notre Dame offered football coach Charlie Weis a better contract in the middle of his first season to keep NFL teams from pursuing him.

Athletic director Kevin White said the school had already received “overtures” from NFL teams, and he was convinced Weis “would have had a significant number of suitors at the end of the season” if he didn’t take action.

“As the ultimate closet New York cynic, I wanted to make darn sure that we had it just the way it needed to be from a university’s standpoint,” White said Tuesday.

Notre Dame was 5-2 under Weis and ranked No. 9 when Weis signed a new 10-year contract in October that begins this season.

He signed the new contract just 10 months after getting a six-year deal.

White said the original contract included a “pretty big buyout.”

He said the new deal has a “Herculean buyout.”

Notre Dame finished last season 9-3 and ranked No. 9, its highest end-of-season ranking since 1993. Under Weis, quarterback Brady Quinn set many school passing records.

White declined to get into specifics of the contract, but conceded it is impossible to guarantee Weis, a longtime NFL assistant, won’t someday leave for the pros, in part because NFL coaching salaries are escalating so fast.

“The resources that are at the next level are mind-boggling,” he said.

AP-ES-05-16-06 1940EDT