It’s official. Auburn will introduce Gene Chizik as the 26th coach in the history of Auburn football tomorrow. Chizik, who was Auburn’s defensive coordinator during their ‘people’s national championship’ season in 2004, has coached the Iowa State Cyclones the past two seasons. He won the Broyles Award for the top assistant coach after the 2004 season. He was hired away by Mack Brown to be the co-defensive defensive coordinator at Texas for the 2005 season, in which Texas won the BCS Championship.
Chizik replaced Dan McCarney, who was 56-85 at Iowa State. McCarney is now the Assistant Head and DLine Coach at Florida.
This feels like such a panic hire. The Chizik decision came a day after Auburn AD Jay Jacobs interviewed TCU coach Gary Patterson. I guess they decided that Patterson was just too successful for their tastes. I get that Chizik is an SEC guy (he went to Florida) and an Auburn guy. Maybe Patterson just reeked too much of being ok with not being number one in his own state. Perhaps Patterson told them he was ok with being number four in his own state. Who knows?
The Auburn fans are beside themselves over the hire. Judging decisions on fan happiness isn’t the metric by which a coaching hire should be measured. If Chizik comes in and wins some many ballgames and is competitive (meaning the team plays well, scores points and doesn’t roll over) and he beats Alabama, obviously it could be a successful hire. A very surprising, but successful, hire. I just laughed out loud when I wrote that.
To paraphrase Paul Westerdawg, this is Zooked on the Plains, which is funny considering Illinois got Zooked on the Plains as well (different kind of plains). When your stupidity is compounded by your incompetence, only bad things can happen (for a good example, see Angelos, Peter and the long slow downfall of the Baltimore Orioles or Millen, Matt). For all the talk about winning the press conference, there is no way that can happen now. Chizik could come in, tell them he has the cure for cancer, invented a flash frying meat smoker that reduces calories in meat, and has firm commitments from Julio Jones and Sam Bradford to transfer to Auburn and he still would not win the press conference. He couldn’t win it if he showed up with Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban’s wives. Why? Perception, baby. Perception.
When Iowa State beat writers are questioning the hire, and questioning how good the job is, then you have problems. The Sports Editor of the Ames newspaper is actually happy he is leaving. Speaking of Chizik,
His teams got drilled at Baylor, lost by two touchdowns to Texas A&M, and dropped the finale at Kansas State and lame-duck Coach Ron Prince. Sounds like a winner to me.
This cannot be what he had in mind when he fired Tubberville. Mark at the Auburner wrote a piece on Muschamp leaving back in January in which he mentioned Chizik and how he has lost his own state. If Tubberville got fired for losing to Alabama once in the past eight years, how does Jacobs justify hiring a guy that lost to his instate rival this year?
In that same article, Mark footnoted that he though Chizik was going to be fine as a head coach. I bet he doesn’t feel that way today.
Chizik, who is supposed to be a defensive wiz, and showed that he was, winning the Broyles award as a DC, had one of the lowest rated defenses in the nation and was number 10 in the Big 12 this season. Oh, his offense was 11th in scoring offense at 22 ppg in the Big 12. That would place you 7th in the SEC and is almost 5 ppg more than Auburn scored this past year, so they have that going for them. Plus, he just demoted his offensive and defensive coordinators. Maybe that is why Jacobs hired him. Chizik felt familiar.
There are rumors that this was a Pat Dye job from the start. That is what Auburn sees in Chizik. A young Pat Dye. According to Kevin Scarbinski,
They see hunger. Passion. Work ethic. They see things too many important Auburn people didn’t see in Tommy Tuberville in recent years.
In short, in Chizik, they see a young Pat Dye.
If Pat Dye has that much sway over the program, and now presumably the head football coach, this hire could turn out much like a hire Georgia made a few years back, naming a well liked assistant and too close ties to a former coach head coach.
Finally, I bet Iowa State goes out, executes an efficient, quick search and finds Turner Gill. That would be a great hire.
When you get out played by Mississippi State and the Mississippi State of the Big 12 in your coaching search, you have bigger problems in your athletic department than who your head coach is. That in and of itself is the reason Chizik cannot win the press conference. Look for the wailing and gnashing of teeth to reach new levels at Alabama Polytechnic. I just don’t see how it could have gotten any better for Georgia and Alabama fans. Maybe he’ll hire Patrick Nix to be his Offensive Coordinator and hopefully stay away from Rodney Garner and Stacey Searles, but that is probably just getting greedy.
Merry Christmas, Kyle King.