Just two years removed from leading Auburn University to their first football national Championship in 53 years, Gene Chizik is out as head coach.
Chizik had served as Tommy Tuberville’s defensive coordinator at Auburn before taking the same position at Texas. Chizik was then hired as head coach at Iowa State where he posted a 5-19 record.
Athletic Director Jay Jacobs tapped Chizik as the Tiger’s head coach before the 2009 season. After opening his Auburn tenure with a 8-5 record, Chizik led Auburn to the BCS National Championship in 2010 behind Cam Newton’s Heisman winning performance. After another 8-5 season in 2011, Auburn posted it’s worst year record in modern Auburn football history going 3-9 with an 0-8 record in the SEC.
It marked the fastest and steepest fall from grace by a national championship program in the AP poll era. On Saturday, Auburn suffered a loss to arch rival, #2 Alabama, by a score of 49-0, the second largest margin of loss in Iron Bowl history.
Less than 24 hours later, Chizik finds himself out as the Auburn coach.
He reportedly told his assistant coaches earlier today. Chizik was to meet with his team at 1 pm on Sunday to tell them the news, according to media reports.
Chizik’s record at Auburn was a combined 33-19 with a 15-17 mark in the SEC, but Auburn has dropped 10 conference games in a row. He posted just one winning record in SEC play in his four years on the plains.
Jacobs released the follow statement via the Auburn University website, AuburnTigers.com.
Nov. 25, 2012
Dear Auburn Family,
First and foremost, I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have reached out to me in recent days and weeks to express your concerns about our football program. You are the best fans in the country, and I appreciate your passion and love for Auburn University.
We have talked a lot in recent years about building the foundation it takes to consistently compete at a high level in the nation’s toughest conference. Despite substantial investment in personnel and facilities made possible by your support, the football program did not live up to our expectations. The results of the 2012 football season are simply unacceptable at Auburn.
After suffering some tough losses in a transition year in 2011, we had hoped our team would show improvement this season. Unfortunately, it has not. The competition in our league is fierce and is currently at an all-time high, and we cannot risk falling further behind by waiting another year and hoping for improvement.
That is why after careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of our football program, I have recommended that Coach Gene Chizik not be retained. President Gogue has accepted my recommendation. Earlier this morning, I informed Coach Chizik that he will not return as head coach.
My primary consideration in making this recommendation was doing what is in the best interests of our current student-athletes and the future of our football program
. That has always been my top priority, and it always will be.
While I am disappointed that Coach Chizik’s career here has come to an end we will long cherish the memories of our first National Championship in 53 years. Gene and his staff will always be a part of the Auburn Family, and we wish them and their families the best.
This season demonstrated that we need a different direction to get where we want to go. We will move as quickly as possible in our search for a new Head Coach, guided by the benchmarks President Gogue and I expect. Those benchmarks are a track record as a proven winner, a commitment to playing within the rules and student-athlete academic success.
I am pleased to announce that we have put together an outstanding search committee to find our next head coach. The committee consists of several great Auburn leaders who share our commitment to competing at the highest level and who understand what it takes to succeed at Auburn. I am honored that Mac Crawford, Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan have agreed to join our efforts to find the best coach possible for our student-athletes, the students of Auburn University and the Auburn Family. I’m proud to be part of this distinguished group.
A press conference will be held later today to formally announce this change. In the days ahead, you can expect rumors to swirl and inaccurate reports to surface about who is under consideration to be our next Head Coach. That is the nature of coaching searches at this level. I will not respond to rumors or speculative reports during the search process, but I do look forward to announcing our new Head Coach once the search is complete.
I regret that the Auburn Family, and especially our season ticket holders and Tigers Unlimited donors, have had to endure a frustrating and difficult season. You expect and deserve better.
It is time to heal and turn the page to the next chapter of Auburn football. It is time to pull together and forge ahead to the brighter future that awaits us.
We have endured tough times before, and we have always emerged stronger. I have no doubt that will be our course once again.
God Bless and War Eagle!
Jacobs also fired all of the Auburn assistants, according to media reports, and told them they could re-apply to the new coach. So far, there is no word on Jacobs’ future as athletic director.