Published January 11, 2011 - 4:11pm
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“Race was the # 1 factor. You can say it’s not about race, but you can’t compare the two resumes and say he deserved the job. Out of all the coaches they interviewed, Chizik probably had the worst resume.”
-Charles Barkley, Auburn Alumni
“We want a leader, not a loser.”
-Unidentified Auburn Fan (after Chizik’s hiring)
Hindsight is 20/20, or so they say. As Gene Chizik lifted the ball off the BCS Championship Trophy last night, the hindsight was crystal clear. Of course, it was only a little over 25 months ago that Auburn fans were preparing for the arrival of their new coach, Turner Gill. Gill had done an amazing job at Buffalo and captured the MAC Conference Championship and was the clear cut choice to take the position vacated by Tommy Tuberville. Then Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs shocked the fan base by hiring Chizik and saying “I know that we have found the right fit for Auburn.” Within seconds, many fans were calling for Jacobs head and his job. This was the worst thing that could have happened.
It didn’t take long for Auburn’s most famous alum, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley to find a camera and start adding fuel to the fire. Barkley was enraged and took his usual stance that Chizik got the job because he was white. Barkley is so predictable when it comes to situations like these that most sports fans were asking when and not if he would get on his soapbox.
To his credit, Chizik took the high road. He went out and did his job and never complained. He understands that pleasing an entire fan base is an impossible task. He also understands that the difference between the fans loving you or hating you can be as little as 1 point. He also understands football the way I would want my coaches to understand the game. Nothing too flashy, leave the offense and defense in the hands of their coordinators and sit back and manage the game. If you have a chance to win the game on a last second play, make sure you opponent doesn’t get another second to run another play. Don’t make it any harder than it should be.
So, here’s to you Coach Chizik, for your calm in the midst of criticism and your willingness to take the road less traveled. Congratulations on your National Championship. Thanks for helping the SEC maintain is dominance over the PAC 10, Big 10, Big 12 or any other conference that looks really fast against teams on their schedule, but seem to slow down considerably. War Eagle to you Gene!
And to Charles Barkley or the guy waiting at the airport to let Jay Jacobs know Chizik’s record as a head coach, please come forward and tell us what you think of him now. Accountability will make you a better man, so please Sir Chuck, step forward and admit you were wrong. Airport guy, come out of hiding and recite the numbers 14-0. I’m sure you were in line to buy your national championship t-shirt this morning. Or you were probably rolling Toomer’s Corner. As Rocky said after beating Ivan Drago, “if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change,” and as of last night, a lot Auburn fans changed and became fans of Gene Chizik.