OK, I’m not buying this one bit. So why am I sharing it with you?
To illustrate how kooky things can get when it comes to rumors about coaching openings, that’s why. Oh, and because I think it will get eyeballs to this blog for a few hours.
Besides, some newspapers have held back the reins on similar stories because they couldn’t or wouldn’t believe the reports that came from elsewhere, be it cyberspace or Joe’s Garage. Like when Steve Alford was being romanced by New Mexico and vice versa. There was smoke before there was fire, but not everyone covering the Hawkeyes had their smoke-detectors going off.
According to something called AuburnUndercover.com, Iowa State football coach Gene Chizik interviewed with Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs Thursday about the vacant Auburn football job.
Chizik was the defensive coordinator at Auburn from 2002 through 2004. The Tigers went 13-0 in ’04, then Chizik took the same job at Texas.
Now, this story seems about as legit as e-mails from Nigerian lottery-winners. Isn’t it a little more likely Chizik may have conferred with Jacobs about, say, Auburn defensive coordinator Paul Rhodes?
Rhodes is likely to be out of a job at the school when the replacement for outgoing head coach Tommy Tuberville is named. Chizik has openings at openings at offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator.
So my smoke-detector isn’t going off. I can’t see Auburn, which needs a major splash to compete with Nick Saban at rival Alabama, to go after a guy with a 10-game losing streak at Iowa State.
But it’s out there at http://tinyurl.com/5v5t54.
Some of these team-specific sites offer some pretty darn sound, responsible information. Others do a lot of trading in the rumor business.
AuburnUndercover – which may have a history for on-the-mark reporting for all I know – includes this segment in that linked story:
Will Muschamp, defensive coordinator and head coach in waiting at Texas, vehemently denied a report by Channel 10 in Mobile that he would be named Auburn’s head coach Friday.
“Where does that stuff come from?” Muschamp said when contacted by AuburnUndercover.com. “It’s not true. I’m staying at Texas.”
Yes, where does that stuff come from? Where, for that matter, did the rumor come from that Auburn was in discussions with Steve Spurrier, the coach who will (one expects) lead South Carolina against Iowa in the Outback Bowl.
This is from that same AuburnUndercover story:
Channel 12 in Montgomery reported that Auburn “could be close” to offering South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier a contract. Those close to the search say there is no truth to that either, though Spurrier remains in the mix. Spurrier denied earlier that he is a candidate.
“There’s nothing to that,” Spurrier said. “It’s amazing how some of that stuff gets started. The Auburn one? Is that the one you’re talking about? Yeah, that one jumped out of nowhere. It’s interesting how anybody can almost start a rumor, I guess.”
That rumor is pretty goofy, too. Spurrier is 63 and hasn’t exactly brought his Florida-style dominance of the 1990s to South Carolina in his four years there.
But as for Chizik, he’d only be harming his career going after a golden parachute he can’t land. How would the Cyclones possibly sell an ailing football program to their ever-tolerant fan base if the coach had been looking for an emergency escape out of Ames.
Even though this rumor is wilder than the open Illinois U.S. Senate seat going to Mike Ditka, Chizik may want to go all Barney Fife, and nip it in the bud. He should laugh at the story, tell the Cyclones “We’re turning this thing around here, and please hang in there with us. We love you fans.”
And then go recruit a bunch of really super-duper high school seniors.