Gene Chizik explains why he left coaching profession
North Carolina DC Gene Chizik sent shockwaves throughout the coaching profession — as he decided to step down from his post in order to spend more time with his family.
It wasn’t as if Chizik wasn’t enjoying success whilst in Chapel Hill. During his two-year stint, the Tar Heels had a combined record of 19-8. He not only did a good job of improving the defensive unit, but also functioned as a very good recruiter.
While Chizik left a considerable amount of money on the table in order to quit, he explained his rationale to Football Scoop:
“I spoke to the team in a team meeting the other night and I wanted to address them and tell them why I was not going to be at North Carolina next year and I said, ‘Guys, I want you to understand this about me, you’ve been around me for two years and you probably have figured it out, but coaching football is what I do, it’s not who I am.’ I said, I’m a husband and a father. Look, there’s nobody out there that’s going to be more competitive, there’s nobody in this profession where football is more important to them than it is to me.
There was nobody that wanted to be better at what they did than me. There were people that wanted to be as good, but there was nobody better. But at some point you draw the line between what you do and who you are. And I know who I am.'”
Once Chizik returned to Auburn for his second stint in 2008, he promised his family this would be their last move.
Chizik took three years off before moving to take the North Carolina job. His family did not move with him — as they chose to stay in Alabama. His twin daughters are now students at Auburn.
One story in particular stuck out to Chizik more than anything:
“I had a guy tell me a long time ago, he was in the coaching profession, became a head coach when he was 29. He said, ‘Gene, I regret it because one day my wife pulled out a picture of Halloween. I looked at that picture and I said, “Who is that?” My wife said to me, “That’s your daughter.”‘ And he said, ‘I’ve always regretted that.’ That was a story that stuck with me from the time I was a young guy in my 30’s and I’ve tried to live by that the best I can.”
While it doesn’t appear as if the former National Champion will be coaching anytime soon, he didn’t completely rule it out:
“Football coaching is what I do. If I want to get back into it two years from now, I can get back into it. But at this particular time there was no question what I needed to do for me to never, ever look back on anything and have any regrets.”