Well, there’s a shocker.
For the better part of the 2012 season, the seat on which Gene Chizik has resided has been hotter than just about any other head coach at the FBS level. With each passing loss — and there have been seven in nine games, with no wins in SEC play — the temperature has been ratcheted up a bit, leading most to assume that, in all likelihood, Auburn would be engaged in another search for a new head football coach once the curtain dropped on the regular season.
In that vein, and in the first of many reports should the Tigers’ season continue on its current trajectory, AuburnUndercover.com is reporting that AU president Jay Gogue “has told some members of the Board of Trustees he is making preparations to possibly replace… Chizik.” Multiple sources told the 247Sports website that Gogue “intends to form a committee” that would help determine Chizik’s future with the football program, and that the ideal situation would involve “naming a new head coach within days after the end of the season should the decision be made that Chizik will not be retained.”
While the site’s report doesn’t implicitly state that the decision has been made to fire Chizik — the exact opposite, actually — the fact that a committee will reportedly be formed to determine his fate, plus the fact that a timeline of less than a month from now is optimal for the university to hire a replacement, does not bode well for Chizik’s tenure on The Plains.
Roughly two weeks ago, Gogue sent out a letter to alumni and supporters in which he promised that “the football program will be evaluated in an objective, thorough and professional process.” The president also said in the letter he understands the concerns expressed to his office regarding the Tigers’ on-field performance this season “are sincere and heartfelt, and I share many of them.”
Since winning the 2010 BcS championship with one-year rental Cam Newton, the Tigers have gone 10-12 overall and 4-10 in the SEC. The Tigers close out the 2012 season with a game against FCS-level Alabama A&M sandwiched between a game this weekend against Georgia and the annual Iron Bowl against Alabama to close out the season.
The buyout on Chizik’s contract would drop to $7.5 million — payable over the next three years — on Dec. 1.