Auburn officials have confirmed that Gene Chizik has been fired. A 3:30 pm CT press conference is scheduled. Chizik notified his staff this morning and met with the players at 1 p.m. CT. Track’em Tigers has also learned that associate athletic director Tim Jackson is no longer part of the football operation.
In a statement, Chizik thanked the Auburn people, “I am very grateful for the opportunity that I had during the last four seasons to serve as the head football coach at Auburn University,” he said. “I’m extremely disappointed with the way this season turned out and I apologize to the Auburn family and our team for what they have had to endure.
“In my 27 years of coaching, I have gained an understanding of the high expectations in this profession. When expectations are not met, I understand changes must be made. I have said this many times, but the Auburn fans are the best in college football. They have an incredible passion and love for their school and I want to thank them for their support in good times and in bad times.”
Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs also put a statement. Here is an excerpt:
The results of the 2012 football season are simply unacceptable at Auburn. After suffering some tough losses in a transition year in 2011, we had hoped our team would show improvement this season. Unfortunately, it has not. The competition in our league is fierce and is currently at an all-time high, and we cannot risk falling further behind by waiting another year and hoping for improvement.
That is why after careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of our football program, I have recommended that Coach Gene Chizik not be retained. President Gogue has accepted my recommendation. Earlier this morning, I informed Coach Chizik that he will not return as head coach.
I am pleased to announce that we have put together an outstanding search committee to find our next head coach. The committee consists of several great Auburn leaders who share our commitment to competing at the highest level and who understand what it takes to succeed at Auburn. I am honored that Mac Crawford, Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan have agreed to join our efforts to find the best coach possible for our student-athletes, the students of Auburn University and the Auburn Family. I’m proud to be part of this distinguished group.
Auburn says the coaching change which includes payouts to Chizik and all his assistants will total $11.09 million. Six assistant coaches will be paid the remainder of their 2012-13 contracts in equal monthly installments until its conclusion on June 30, 2013. Three coaches – Brian VanGorder, Scot Loeffler and Trooper Taylor – have contracts that expire on June 30, 2014. They will be paid in equal installments over the next 18 months.
Chizik’s buyout will be paid in monthly installments through four fiscal years concluding in 2015-16. All buyout figures could decrease with future employment.
Chizik finishes his Auburn career with a 33-19 overall record and 15-17 in SEC play. He had only one winning SEC season during his four year tenure. He’ll be most remembered for orchestrating the 2010 national championship run that resulted in Auburn’s first title since 1957. On his watch, Auburn added its third Heisman Trophy winner in Cam Newton.
The school now turns its attention to finding a replacement for Chizik. Rumored candidates include: Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn, former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher and Louisville coach Charlie Strong.
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