Countdown to Football

54 Days

Let’s give the opposition an inch.

They say, “Gene Chizik is a 5-19 coach.  He just got lucky with Cam Newton and Nick Fairly.”

Gene Chizik is 22-5 as Auburn’s football coach.

To give you an idea of how that ranks among Auburn’s best coaches in their first two years:

1.  Terry Bowden 20-1-1
2.  Pay Dye 14-9
3.  Tommy Tuberville 14-10
4.  Shug Jordan 7-13

Bonus points to Chizik for winning the SEC and national championships within two years of being hired.

The bigger and more important question concerning college coaches is how do they do building a program?

We see Terry Bowden dominated the scene as soon as he arrived.  He went undefeated his first year as a coach, and for all we know, he could have won the national championship that year as well.

But his career faltered.  He went on to lose 4 games each his 3rd and 4th seasons, and his career spiraled into a shadowy graveyard of an embarrassing departure and a 3-8 season finished out by an assistant coach.

Pat Dye’s first two seasons were highly respectable.  He broke Auburn out of Alabama’s stronghold.

But it was what Dye did later that was most remarkable.

Pat Dye took Auburn from middle of the pack/Alabama’s easy rival to numerous SEC championships and top rankings each season.

Tommy Tuberville was similar.  He started slower than Terry Bowden, but he too led Auburn to an undefeated season and an SEC championship.

Ralph Shug Jordan had the least reputable start, but he went on to win a national championship and posted multiple undefeated seasons.

So who is Gene Chizik?

The doubters say Chizik is a 5-19 coach.  They could say he’s another Terry Bowden.  Auburn fans will vehemently disagree by pointing to Cam’s Heisman, Fairley’s Lombardi, and a football made of crystal sponsored by Sears.

In Chizik’s first two full recruiting seasons, he has had 1 recruit not qualify.  This is quickly becoming his team.  His players.  His philosophy.

It’s obvious what he is able to do with dominant players.  But in terms of running a program?

We’re going to find out this season.

54 Days.

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