When Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville “resigned” last week under extreme pressure from school officials, one would imagine that the Auburn athletic department had a plan in place to go forward. Perhaps a list of potential candidates with a can’t-miss option or two. Really, the one thing you want to avoid at all costs is a coach who’s noticeably worse than the one being replaced. Like, oh, I don’t know… ISU’s Gene Chizik.
(Good news: His buyout is payable in Chizik nickels.)
Yes, according to CYCLONEREPORT.COM, the Iowa State affiliate of RIVALS.COM, Gene Chizik will be the Tigers’ next coach. Chizik, mind you, went 2-10 last season at ISU, including a perfect-in-its-own-lousy-way 0-8 in Big XII play. That pushed his career record to 5-19, which has got to be one of the worst NCAA marks in decades. And Auburn freaking hired him.
But was the biggest salesman in this deal Iowa State’s own athletic director? Check out what AD Jamie Pollard said in a media release on Friday, when it was announced that Auburn had contacted Chizik:
It is Pollard’s understanding that Chizik has met with Auburn officials and is a serious candidate for the job. Pollard said he wasn’t surprised by Auburn’s interest in his coach.
“Auburn’s interest in Gene speaks to his (Chizik’s) reputation,” Pollard said. “We saw that same potential in Gene two years ago. He is an outstanding football coach, tremendous recruiter and inspiring leader. When your organization has talented staff members, other schools express interest in their services.”
Not exactly tepid stuff from the AD. If this was his way of getting rid of Chizik without worrying about a buyout, then well-played, sir. If he was more concerned with trying to sell his program at every single opportunity and actually meant one single word of that (this seems far more likely), then it’s brainless.
As far as reactions from all schools involved to this hire, they’re predictable. Bama fans are stunned and almost pitying the Tigers. Auburn fans’ reactions are, according to AUBURNUNDERCOVER.COM’s Phillip Marshall, “the most negative I have witnessed in almost 40 years of being around Auburn football as a reporter.” And Iowa State’s so astonished that they’re trying to imagine what more than two wins would have earned Chizik.
Me? I’m going to go laugh myself dizzy. Nice move, Auburn. A+. This was definitely exactly what you had in mind. Nick Saban must be absolutely terrified.