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Archive for Thursday, December 18, 2008

Auburn simply was incompetent

December 18, 2008

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Whether Charles Barkley was right when he said “race was the No. 1 factor” why Auburn chose Gene Chizik over Turner Gill is something only a few higher-ups in the athletic department and the administration at his alma mater will ever know.

But Barkley may be giving them too much credit. Judging by the process that led to Chizik’s selection as the Tigers football coach, incompetence appears to have trumped any questions of bad intent.

“I just thought Turner Gill would be the perfect choice for two reasons: He’s a terrific coach, and we needed to make a splash,” Barkley said. “I thought we had to do something spectacular to bring attention to the program. Clearly, if we’d hired a black coach, it would have created a buzz.”

Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs created a buzz, all right — just not the kind he hoped for. Polls show fan sentiment running 2-to-1 against his new coach, something Jacobs might have suspected after being heckled mercilessly by some Auburn fans upon returning to the university’s airport with Chizik’s deal in his briefcase.

After first declining to confirm the hiring, Jacobs later issued a statement saying, “I’m confident that Gene can build upon the foundation that has been established and make this a program that competes for championships on a consistent basis.”

Those remarks make you wonder what program Jacobs was watching.

Auburn consistently competed for championships under Tommy Tuberville, who went 85-40 in 10 seasons at the school, including a perfect season and Southeastern Conference title four years ago and six straight wins over archrival Alabama — and whose contract ran through 2013.

Maybe that’s why early reports labeled his departure a “surprise.”

But soon enough it became clear Tuberville agreed to resign in exchange for a $5 million payoff, because the university was under no obligation to buy out the deal if Tuberville quit. There was no evidence Tigers fans wanted him gone, either, since six dozen protesters marched in front of university president Jay Gogue’s mansion to protest their former coach’s ouster.

Tuberville’s 5-7 record, after all, was only his second losing season; he went 5-6 his first year in charge. And while Alabama’s resurgence under Nick Saban made some Tigers fans nervous, few see the sense in paying a proven winner $5 million to go away and hiring a one-time defensive coordinator at $2 million per year — especially since Chizik went 5-19 at Iowa State in his only stint as a head coach.

The number of black coaches running major college football programs is abysmal: four of 119, the same number as 15 years ago. Of the nearly 200 head-coaching jobs that have opened up since 1996, a dozen have gone to blacks, who make up half the players.

“They’re not getting good jobs. They’re not getting jobs where they can be successful. That’s why I wanted Turner to get the Auburn job,” Barkley said. “He could win consistently at Auburn. You can’t win consistently at New Mexico. You can’t win consistently at Kansas State. He could have won at Auburn.”

Now we’ll never know.

Comments

jaywalker 6 years ago

Good article? 'Incompetence' is supposed to be the theme and yet there is no explanation as to why this writer thinks so. Not so much.Problem is that noone knows how Gill would have done at Auburn. Perhaps he would have been successful. But one of the most important qualities to have as a coach in the SEC is a solid network for recruiting - relationships with high schools and their coaches,. Chzik has this pipeline established. Gill has nothing. Chzik's a proven defensive expert and was a hot commodity when Iowa State nabbed him, who, by the way is rather perturbed at losing him cuz they know he's good. Regardless of his two year record at ISU the man's an up and comer. Besides , two years isn't nearly long enough to turn around a program, especially one that abysmal.And I believe anyone screaming 'racism' in this instance is little more than a fool. Football is a religion down here and the only important thing is winning. That is the be-all-end-all and a black Jew from China would get the job if he was considered the best option to compete against Alabama and the rest of the SEC. Gill has done a fantastic job at Buffalo. I don't think he would have been a bad choice. And there's no doubt that racism is alive and well down here. Hell, it's everywhere. But the A.D.'s job is on the line for this, and noone's playing "Name that Color" with a million dollar job.

hail2oldku 6 years ago

"Regardless of his two year record at ISU the man's an up and comer. Besides , two years isn't nearly long enough to turn around a program, especially one that abysmal."Spoken like a true football fan, not. Iowa State was one season removed from being one game from winning the Big XII North two years in a row when McCarney was fired because of attendance issues not football issues. Were they contending for a national title every year, no, but they were better than our Jayhawks were at that time.

jaywalker 6 years ago

Oh. I'm sorry hail. I was unaware of the football powerhouse that was Iowa State. 'One game removed' is not.., well, anything. I feel confident in saying that nobody would include ISU in the top 100 college football programs in the country regardless of the limited success McCarney had, and I think he was a decent coach. In fact, ISU comes in a distant third, at best, behind Iowa and Northern Iowa as a competent program year after freakin' year, and I'M not a football fan? Cop a clue and then we can talk.

hail2oldku 6 years ago

I never said winning the Big XII North would qualify the Cyclones as a powerhouse, just using it to illustrate that the program wasn't abysmal as you called it. And as far as missing the Big XII Title Game by one game goes, there are four other teams that would have liked to have been there. Abysmal would be K-State before Bill Snyder or KU under Terry Allen (or Bob Valesente).

jaywalker 6 years ago

"just using it to illustrate that the program wasn't abysmal as you called it."Two 'almosts' don't disqualify their program as abysmal, hail. Just as two years don't sum up a program. Iowa State is second only to Baylor as the worst football program in the Big 12, and before that THE worst in the Big 8. Granted, they had limited success under McCarney, but again, if NIU is considered the better of the two programs in the state and they're D-II, how can you possibly believe their program is anything other than putrid? KU has had a slew of bad years, but EVERY year ISU was there best hope for a victory. As bad as we've been, they're worse. And THAT is abysmal, kiddo.

Jock Navels 6 years ago

Northern Iowa is D-1...FCS...old D1-AA. The division 1 schools with a 16 team playoff....Northern Iowa made it to the semis where they lost to the richmond spiders (best helmets in football) the championhsip game is tomorrow night, 7 pm...montana vs richmond. i would say all totl since inception of the big 6 k-state has the worst program...not iowa state. iowa state had the dirty30.

jaywalker 6 years ago

My bad on NIU there jock, but I'd differ with you on K-State inasmuch as they've at least had a ten year run where they were ranked each year and were even close to National Championships. Overall record you may be right, Lord knows KU and KSU were considered two of the worst for along time.

hail2oldku 6 years ago

So are we talking historically then jaywalker or the team that Chizik inherited? McCarney had built a solid base for Chizik to build upon. The program McCarney inherited was the one that could be considered abysmal. McCarney was on a course similar to what KU has had with Mangino. He inherited a program that was in the crapper and was starting to have some success. His inability to motivate the fanbase is what did him in, not his coaching. It was Chizik's inability to motivate his team that returned the Cyclones to the bottom of the Big XII North heap, kiddo.

yanman 6 years ago

Incompetence is right. Tubberville's team this year had a very good defense but absolutely no offense. So what does Auburn do after firing Tubberville? They hire their former defensive coordinator who has done absolutely nothing as a head coach for two years. Offense is their problem, not defense. Why hire a defensive minded coach? Absolutely stupid and If I was an Auburn fan I would be pi**ed!

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