Fallout From Chizik’s Leap to Auburn

When college coaches suddenly split for greener pastures, the players left behind are the poor schmucks.

They sign on with a coach, they put their faith in him, and he bolts. It’s business, everyone is told.

It’s a dirty business, as you can tell by the angry and hurt reaction of Iowa State freshman wide receiver Darius Darks in this story:

http://www.uwire.com/Article.aspx?id=3630070

The reactions in Auburn country  about Chizik’s hiring wasn’t exactly roses and chocolates. From Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News:

http://blog.al.com/kevin-scarbinsky/2008/12/gene_chizik_as_head_football_c.html

Newspaper cartoonists always seem to capture what wordsmiths can’t, and this is a good effort by the Birmingham News’ Scott Stantis:

http://blog.al.com/stantis/2008/12/war_chizik.html

And, if you’ll indulge me, here’s my Gazetteonline.com column Sunday about the Chizik “era.”

http://gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081213/SPORTS/712139905/1008

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3 responses to “Fallout From Chizik’s Leap to Auburn

  1. Scapegoating as a management tool:

    He fired two, demoted two this year. Hello? They were your exclusive hand-picks, bubba. Ferentz drives us nuts with staff loyalty sometimes, but you know, if he ever does fire somebody, you’ll never know he did. We do appreciate continuity and loyalty, because Iowa is a village culture. In a village, you know everyone your entire life.

    He’s supposed to be a defensive wiz, but ISU collapsed (statistically) this year on defense.

    He has a tendency to talk about God in public, which did not endear him to Iowans particularly, who prefer that that sort of thing be managed privately, not institutionalized. He tried to hire on the public payroll a team chaplain. The AD issued commemerative coins with his likeness. Iowa maintains a culture of understatement, discretion and modesty. They also rubbed our nose in the 2007 win with a stupid billboard on one of the main highways into Iowa City. Iowa is a farming heritage place, obviously, and hubris is just one drought, flood or tornado away. Chizik and his AD were/are fools. It’s not clear that they knew where it was they were actually working.

    So, here it was December, he’s burned his staff, he’s lied in public about his devotion to the ISU job, it’s getting cold again and the wind is blowing again, and Auburn rings him up. The cliche about “no one can win at ISU” gives him a talking point. (His predecessor went to five bowls in 6 years, however, and if you want a tough program to run, call Bill Snyder in Manhattan, Kansas.)

    Iowa tends not to be an acquired taste for anyone from the New South. Iowa is a good place for natives, and refugees from the northeast and urban midwest, people who value the education, work ethic and simple efficiency (not driving an hour to work etc.) of the place, and can shrug at the winters.

    Goodbye, Chizik, and I sure hope you get off to a fast start at your fourth job in six years. Because once you sell yourself one too many times, you’re going to have to be accountable for the actual, measurable results.

  2. Prediction: if Pollard goes after Farley, he’s already packing his own bags — per Chizik, claiming that ISU is a no-win environment. McDermott hasn’t exactly worked out, and then he got stomped by a team this week that has 18 shooters and 1.5 big guys who play in the lane.

    If Pollard has learned anything, and wishes to make a go of it in Ames, he’s got to find someone who would rather die in Iowa than buy a cup of coffee en route somewhere else.

    The biggest, saddest coaching story of the last 30 years is what happened to people like McCarney, Bob Elliott, even Chuck Long. If McCarney were still there, so would Bobby, and now, likely Long. These are people who are invested in the place. That appears to be a wholly alien concept to Pollard. Elliott’s near-misses are worthy of a novel. It is a truly heartless business.

    Anyway, Bill Snyder has a list of ten things all coaches and leaders should attend. One of them is simple:

    *Be* where you are.

    Chizik and Pollard should attend to that idea.

  3. Chizik will be a much better fit in Auburn where he can get his chaplain hired, speak of God and pray all the more in public. Auburn’s AD/staff is either completely and totally over the cliff stupid or know something the rest of us don’t. I think it’s more likely that they are gambling on a guy who must make a great first impression and do a heck of a sales job on himself but doesn’t have much to offer beyond that. Saban and the rest of the Roll Tide, including the entire SEC have to be licking their chops at the idea of playing a Chizik coached Auburn team. I think this is best for ISU actually, now maybe they can go find someone who holds Iowa and the Midwest near and dear to their hearts. I hear Chuck Long is looking for a job.

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