AUBURN, Ala. — In what has been a dismal season for the Auburn football team, there has been plenty of speculation about head coach Gene Chizik’s job. However, that hot seat may have gotten a lot hotter Thursday with reports that Chizik’s fourth year on the Plains could be his last.
AuburnUndercover.com, a subscription-based web site operated by 247Sports, reported Thursday that President Jay Gogue has informed some individuals on the Auburn board of trustees he ‘plans to possibly’ replace Chizik, who coached the Tigers to the BCS national championship just two seasons ago. Auburn has gone 10-12 since the 2011 title game.
Nothing is official as of Thursday – Chizik made his regular weekly appearance on the Auburn Sports Network ‘Tiger Talk’ radio show Thursday evening.
Gogue told some trustees he is considering forming a search committee for a new head coach “within days after the end of the season should the decision be made that Chizik will not be retained,” according to AuburnUndercover.com. The report added athletic director Jay Jacobs would keep his job and executive associate athletic director Tim Jackson, in charge of major football decisions, would be reassigned.
“As Dr. Gogue said in a recent message to the Auburn family, the football program will be thoroughly evaluated,” Keeter wrote. “Nothing has changed.”
Gogue issued a letter to Auburn fans Oct. 25, urging the community to “come together and get behind the young men who wear the orange and blue each fall Saturday” at a student government-led rally. He also addressed swirling talk of the program’s direction.
“In the past few weeks, many of you have contacted me, and I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to share your thoughts about the football program,” Gogue wrote Oct. 25. “I know your concerns are sincere and heartfelt, and I share many of them.
“As we do every year, the football program will be evaluated in an objective, thorough and professional process. For everything there is a time, and now is the time to support.”
Gogue did not establish a timetable of such evaluation, nor specifically name Chizik, Jacobs or Jackson in his four-paragraph message.
Auburn associate AD and director of communications Kirk Sampson wrote Thursday in an e-mail, “We do not plan on making a statement at this time.” Jacobs has made no public statements since Sept. 11 at a press conference introducing the James Owens Courage Award, and has refrained from comment regarding the direction of the football program during Auburn’s 2-7 season.
Request for comment from Governor of Alabama Robert J. Bentley, president of the Auburn board of trustees, was deferred to university officials by his press secretary. Telephone messages left with five experienced trustees were not immediately returned to the Ledger-Enquirer.
Auburn faces rival No. 5 Georgia (8-1, 6-1 SEC) Saturday at 7 p.m. ET at Jordan-Hare Stadium, in a game televised by ESPN2. The Tigers finish their season Nov. 24 on the road at top-ranked Alabama.