December 13, 2008
Auburn has hired Gene Chizik as its new football coach, according to people familiar with the university's search.
Chizik has called assistant coaches from other schools to compile his new coaching staff, said someone familiar with the situation.
Chizik has been Iowa State's head coach the last two seasons. He compiled a 5-19 record there.
There are other numbers here: Chizik spent three seasons as Auburn's defensive coordinator and put together the defense that led the nation in scoring defense during the Tigers' 13-0 season in 2004, then put together a top-10 defense on Texas' 13-0, mythical championship team in his first season in Austin.
But obviously, there's big number: 5-19. On his own, Chizik is 2-14 in Big 12 games, and Iowa State actually regressed in his second year, falling to 0-8 in the conference by an average of 20 points per defeat. Defensively, ISU finished this year in the bottom ten nationally -- 110th or worse -- in total, scoring and pass efficiency defense. The Cyclones' only wins were over Kent State and South Dakota State before a ten-game losing skid. Hey, at least they beat Kent State this year -- Chizik's first game in Ames was a nine-point loss to the Golden Flashes in 2007, quickly followed by defeat at the hands of Northern Iowa and Toledo before the end of September. There were flashes of competence here and there -- a close, competitive loss to Oklahoma in '07, a 20-0 halftime lead over Kansas before another eventual loss this year -- but 24 games in, the Cyclones have made no discernible progress from that ignominious start. Realistically, Chizik was probably another losing season away from being fired. At Iowa State.
Yeah, Auburn fans are going to be just thrilled about this hire. At last check, the Birmingham News' informal disapproval rating was in the neighborhood of 83 percent. Jay Jacobs isn't confirming anything yet -- apparently he's already being "heckled and booed very loudly" by a "raving lunatic fan" who met the AD's plane at the airport -- so maybe there's still time.