Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs took questions from the media Sunday afternoon in the wake of the firing of head coach Gene Chizik. Sporting Elvis sideburns, the embattled AD appeared unsettled at times. When asked about his own job security, Jacobs skirted the question saying only that, “(My) focus has been to keep my head down and keep working.”
Asked when he finally made the decision to fire Chizik, Jacobs said it was something he had been thinking about all season. He notified Chizik last night that he planned to recommend dismissal to university president Jay Gogue today.
Jacobs repeatedly praised the way Chizik handled the news, saying the now former Auburn coach understood how the business works and change was obviously needed.
He was asked whether the Auburn job was as attractive now in light of the rumored NCAA investigation and the dismal results on the field this year. “3-9 is not acceptable at Auburn. But coming off a national championship in 2010, I believe it’s (the job) more attractive now than ever before.”
Despite the huge buyout now valued at just over $11 million, Jacobs says money will not be a factor in hiring the next coach. Still under fire for pushing for the large buyout in Chizik’s contract, Jacobs said the amount could be less because it will be prorated over several years. Should Chizik accept another position, the payout from Auburn would be prorated based on his new salary.
Jacobs said the thing that bothered him the most was lack of player development. He cited on-field and off-the-field issues as areas that must be cleaned up immediately.
As of now, there will be no interim coach. With finals coming up in a few days, he said he doesn’t feel the need to appoint one.
Finally, Jacobs said Auburn’s new coach will have the ability to bring in his own staff and evaluate the program from top to bottom. “We’ll let the next coach really come in and evaluate what the structure of the program is.”
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