Former AU coach Gene Chizik stepping away from coaching, releases emotional statement on his family

NCAA Football:  Mississippi State at Auburn

Former Auburn coach Gene Chizik is stepping away from the sidelines to spend more time with his family.

Chizik, who has coached as North Carolina’s defensive coordinator, released a statement:

“After many emotional family discussions and a lot of prayerful consideration, I have made the personal decision to step away from football to focus on my family. Personally, it has been extremely difficult for my family and me. We have been apart for the past two years for the first time in my 30-year coaching career. I have been a long-distance husband to my devoted wife, Jonna. I missed my twin daughters’ entire senior year of high school, along with sending them off to college. My son, Cally, is a high school football and baseball player. I have only seen two of Cally’s baseball games and two of his football games in two years. As every parent can imagine, being a long-distance dad to my children has been extremely difficult on everyone.

“At every step in my coaching career, I have emphasized to my players and coaches that family must come first, that family comes before football. Simply put, it is time for me to walk the walk.”

The former SEC Network analyst reportedly may return to TV. Urban Meyer spent a year as an ESPN analyst after he stepped down at Florida when he felt he need to spend more time with his family, similarly citing having missed too many of his kids’ sporting events.

Chizik coached at Auburn from 2009-12, leading the Tigers to a BCS Championship in 2010.

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