Gene Chizik’s firing may come as a shock to those who are still living in the yester-years of Cam Newton’s Auburn glory. It feels like not too long ago that Auburn’s former head coach was holding up that glass football in celebration of a BCS championship that capped off an undefeated season.
Newton went on to be crowned the No.1 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and Chizik still had Michael Dyer to rest on. His job was far from over but he had a fraction of that untouchable squad under his belt.
Things began to go south quicker than they could be repaired and college football fans are torn between whether or not Chizik was that great of a coach to begin with.
On one hand, any coach that can will a young player through such a tumultuous season like Chizik did for Newton deserves a round of applause. The weight of an entire Division I SEC football team and his father’s indiscretions could have crushed him and the Auburn football program.
Instead, the team stood strong behind him as did the coaching staff and were greater for it. However, some may say that this rests on the strength and maturity of the player himself. Chizik may have been the man in front of the cameras but it took a certain mental capacity from his players to keep the media from weighing them down.
Heck, Chizik couldn’t even keep Dyer in line for too long before he suffered multiple suspensions and a termination from two football programs, Auburn and Arkansas State.
Auburn’s arrests have made more of a blemish than ever on the program as four of the members from the 2010 championship team, as ESPN reports, were arrested on robbery charges in March 2011. Antonio Goodwin was convicted and sentenced to 15 years while Dakota Mosley, Michael Mcneil and Shaun Kitchens are awaiting trial.
Whether it was immaturity or their reluctance to buy into what Chizik was selling, an array of Auburn players just could not keep their head in the game and out of a cell. The lack of discipline reeked all over the program and three wins in the Southeastern conference coupled with a dwindling influence is a surefire way to be escorted out of the door.
Chizik could land another coaching job, but likely as an assistant. His track record as a defensive coordinator is practically unscathed. However, it was only when he had a once in a lifetime type of quarterback that he succeeded as a head coach.
It already happened in 2010 and most football programs are not willing to bet a season on whether or not Gene Chizik could get that lucky again.