Chizik serious candidate for Auburn job

Published 8:45 am Saturday, December 13, 2008

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State coach Gene Chizik is in the running for the Auburn job, Cyclones athletic director Jamie Pollard said Friday.

Pollard acknowledged that Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs recently contacted him to speak with Chizik about the Tigers vacancy. Pollard said in a statement released Friday that his understanding is that Chizik — the Tigers defensive coordinator from 2002-04 — has met with Auburn officials and is a serious candidate for the job.

“Auburn’s interest in Gene speaks to his (Chizik’s) reputation,” Pollard said in a statement. “We saw that same potential in Gene two years ago. He is an outstanding football coach, tremendous recruiter and inspiring leader. When your organization has talented staff members, other schools express interest in their services.”

Chizik was unavailable for further comment Friday.

Pollard declined to comment to The Associated Press when approached at the Iowa State-Iowa basketball game on Friday night.

Under Chizik in 2004, the Tigers allowed a national-low 11.3 points per game en route to an unbeaten season.

Chizik then left for Texas. He spent two seasons as Mack Brown’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, helping the Longhorns to the 2005 national championship.

Chizik took over at Iowa State for Dan McCarney following the 2006 season and was regarded among the nation’s best young coaches when he took the job. But he’s gone just 5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State — including a 2-10 mark in 2008.

The Cyclones went winless in Big 12 play this season, and their win total has dipped in each of the past three seasons.

Last week, Chizik stripped offensive coordinator Robert McFarland and defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt of those duties and reassigned them within the staff. He also fired quarterbacks coach Tony Petersen and secondary coach Shawn Raney.

Neither of Iowa State’s coordinator positions have been filled.