Time Is of the Essence in Auburn Coaching Search
Could Gus Malzahn be Auburn’s next head football coach?
There have been a lot of questions swirling around the Auburn Football program this fall, the biggest of which was answered Sunday afternoon when Athletic Director Jay Jacobs announced the dismissal of Coach Gene Chizik. With the announcement, the big question shifted from if and when Auburn would fire Chizik to who will be the next Head Football Coach at Auburn.
Usually this time of year, I’m watching the media outlets and scouring the internet to try to get a hint of where the Auburn Tigers might land in the post season and who their opponent will be. After I learn that information, I quickly move to purchase my tickets and make travel plans.
However, for the first time since 2008, the Auburn Tigers will be home for the holidays. Instead of looking forward to an enjoyable bowl trip, we are left to watch for breaking news of who the University will hire as it’s 26th Head Coach.
The AD said this weekend that he had been thinking about dismissing Chizik since the Arkansas game; surely he’s had time to at least develop a preliminary wish list of potential candidates.
While we don’t know who may be on that list, the names most in the rumor mill have been Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Arkansas State’s Gus Malzahn, Louisville’s Charlie Strong, Alabama Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart, Clemson Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris, St. Louis Rams’ Jeff Fisher, and an unemployed Bobby Petrino.
Media outlets are reporting that Jimbo Fisher and Gus Malzahn are near the top of Auburn’s wish list. Yet any of those names listed would make good candidates with the exception of Bobby Petrino. A widely acknowledged offensive guru, he nevertheless would bring too much baggage.
If the school were to take a chance on a proven coach with baggage, I think Auburn could do a lot better than Bobby Petrino. For starters there is former North Carolina Coach Butch Davis who won two super bowl rings as a DC for the Dallas Cowboys and has a 79-27 record in 10 years at Miami and UNC.
It’s too bad former Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel is under an NCAA “show cause sanction” till 2016. He would be my first choice. After all, he would come as a proven championship contender, having taken his team to three BCS games, won six Big 10 titles as well as the 2002 National Championship.
Since he is not in the picture, my choice would be Boise State’s Chris Peterson. Everyone has a favorite and Petersen would be near the top of my list. Only in his eighth year as a head coach he has a record of 82-8 for a .911 winning percentage. In addition Petersen has won two BCS bowls and garnered three National Coach of the Year awards.
Of course, the way most coaching searches go, the coach that is eventually hired may not be on the published rumor list. With several schools looking for new head coaches and with a top 10 Auburn commitment class hanging in the balance it is critical that the search committee not only make the right move but also make it expeditiously.
It took 12 days for Auburn to announce the replacement for Tommy Tuberville back in 2008. Now it has been two days since the firing of Gene Chizik, Can Auburn fans expect the hiring of a new head football coach in the next 10 days?
Or will the search committee have to wait till after potential candidates are through with the bowl season to make an announcement? I hope not because … “Time is of the essence.”