Auburn Hires Gene Chizik; Must Know Something Nobody Else Does
There's a little more to report now; apparently, he's headed back to the Loveliest Village on the Plains, as he will be Auburn's next football coach. Des Moines TV station KCCI confirmed that Chizik got on a commercial flight to Memphis, and Auburn has sent a plane to Memphis.
Chizik leaves the Largest Village in Story County after two seasons with a 5-19 record. Auburn just finished a 5-7 season. Do the math; the season that got Tommy Tuberville fired had as many wins as Chizik's entire career.
As you might expect, many in Alabama are questioning the wisdom of hiring a coach fresh off a 10-game losing streak. As you might not expect, some in Iowa are questioning the same thing. There are now two athletic directors burning new ulcers in their stomachs. Auburn's Jay Jacobs knows he's got one heck of a selling job in front of him if he doesn't want to see the booster money dry up like a Slim Jim left in the back window of a '93 Corsica. But his problems are nothing compared to ISU's Jamie Pollard.
Chizik restructured his staff two weeks ago in a move I called "rearranging the deck chairs on the Cy-tanic." Now he's just flat out gone, and Iowa State has to recover from two years of spinning their wheels. They've fallen behind the rest of the Big 12 in football, while across the state Iowa has improved over the past three ugly seasons.
The onus is now on Jamie Pollard to put things right. He's the one who ran off Dan McCarney, whose only real mistake was not doing what Johnny Majors and Earle Bruce did before him: use ISU as a stepping stone towards a better job. There isn't much margin for error in Iowa State football, so Pollard had better be ready to bust his hump over the holidays.
There's even less margin for error at Auburn, so Jay Jacobs better hope his gut feeling wasn't just gas.