Gene Chizik, the right fit for Auburn?

Published 12:55 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Auburn fans gathered in a small group waiting for the new head football coach to land last week and it was not a soft landing.

Amidst cheers and a lot of boos, Gene Chizik was welcomed back in the exact opposite of Alabama head football coach, Nick Saban.

We all know what happened there.

When I first heard of Chizik’s name as the new head coach, I really didn’t know who he was.

On later inspection, I learned that Chizik led the Iowa State Cyclones to a 5-19 record for the past two seasons and has coached for a total of 23 years, although only two as a head coach. In 2004, as Auburn’s defensive coordinator, he helped lead the Tigers to the SEC Championship where they won over Tennessee, 38-28. He was then able to parlay his success at Auburn into becoming an assistant head coach and the co-defensive coordinator at Texas.

The Tigers were also undefeated in the 2004 season, and finished ranked No. 2 in the country. That’s something, right?

In a recent press conference, Chizik said the history of the Auburn football program is something to cherish.

“The tradition of the Auburn football program combined with the passionate fans and their love for Auburn are second to none,” he said. “My family and I are Auburn through and through, and look forward to being part of the Auburn family and community.”

He said this after being escorted by Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs.

To put it Plainly, the fans are not happy with the choice and he has to prove to them that he can win and if he can win. That’s a tall order in a division that already includes coaching stalwarts Bobby Petrino, Les Miles and, oh yes, Nick Saban.

Already, he’s been put on the firing line by a majority of the Tiger faithful.

Good luck, Gene.