After an up-and-down four years, Auburn parts ways with Gene Chizik

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Graham Watson
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Gene Chizik spent four seasons at Auburn and in that time he was responsible for one of the program's best seasons and one of its worst.

Auburn's 3-8 campaign that was capped off with a 49-0 beatdown at the hands of rival Alabama proved to be Chizik's undoing as the university announced Sunday that it was parting ways with embattled coach.

"After careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of our football program, I have recommended that Coach Chizik not be retained," Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a statement. "President (Jay) Gogue has accepted my recommendation. Earlier this morning, I informed Gene that he will not return as head coach."

[Pat Forde: Notre Dame completes rise to prominence]

Chizik wasn't the most exciting hire when he was named head coach back in 2008. Chizik spent three seasons as the Tigers' defensive coordinator and won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant. That landed him the head coaching gig at Iowa State where he fell on his face. Chizik was 5-19 with the Cyclones, but his reputation was enough to make him the leading candidate to replace Tommy Tubberville at Auburn.

And he pacified his critics with an 8-5 season and a win in the Outback Bowl in his first season and a national championship and Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Cam Newton in Year Two. Chizik even managed to cobble together an 8-5 season last year before becoming a national embarrassment this year.

The Tigers were not competitive in the vast majority of their games this year. They were outscored 150-21 in their final three SEC games. Auburn's only wins this season came against Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State and Alabama A&M.

"I'm extremely disappointed with the way this season turned out and I apologize to the Auburn family and our team for what they have had to endure," Chizik said. "In my 27 years of coaching, I have gained an understanding of the high expectations in this profession. When expectations are not met, I understand changes must be made."

Auburn will begin an immediate search for a replacement. The search committee will be comprised of former Heisman Trophy winners Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson and former Tigers fullback Mac Crawford in addition to Jacobs.

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