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Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012

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  • Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012
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Word to the wise Tell the new Auburn coach to get it done in three years.

Let Gene Chizik be an example that universities have to stop giving long-term contracts to new head coaches.

When Chizik came to Auburn to succeed Tommy Tuberville as head coach after being a defensive coordinator for three seasons with the Tigers, the school signed him to a five-year contract.

When Auburn won the national championship in 2010, the school looked pretty smart for it. Then, one-year wonder Cam Newton left for the NFL, and behind all the makeup, warts began to show.

Auburn was absolutely abysmal this season and failed to win a game in the SEC. When Chizik was the defensive coordinator in 2004, the Tigers were ranked No. 1 in scoring defense.

This year was the polar opposite, giving up 41 to Ole Miss, 63 to Texas A&M, 38 to Georgia and 49 to Alabama.

What happened? I remember watching the footage when Chizik first arrived at Auburn. As soon as he stepped off the plane, an Auburn fan could be heard yelling, “Boo! We want a winner.” This was just after Chizik’s 2-10 season as head coach of Iowa State.

The Tigers may have won a title, but at the end of the day, that fan may have been right.

Auburn made the right choice by getting rid of Chizik, but it was a costly choice. The school shot itself in the foot in the long run. Chizik received a $7.7 million buyout package because his contract was not up.

Hiring the wrong coach can set a football program back in a big way, and it seems like more coaches fail than succeed at big football schools — probably not really the case considering all we hear about in the news are the coaches on the hot seat.

The point is: Schools are hurting themselves even more when they end up paying more than what a coach is worth.

Sure, there are exceptions, like Nick Saban, who you expect to take your program to glory almost instantaneously; which he did with Alabama. Someone of his caliber has the prerogative to demand the terms of his contract. But what happens when you put all of your eggs in one basket, and the bottom falls out? You got it, broken eggs.

Coaches understand in today’s world they are expected to win right away, so as the Tigers search for their next coach, they should keep that in mind.

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