Auburn University announced Sunday afternoon that it has dismissed head football coach Gene Chizik following a dismal 2012 season.
Full statement from Auburn University:
AUBURN— Gene Chizik, who has directed the Auburn football program for the last four seasons, has been dismissed as head coach, Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs announced Sunday.
"After careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of our football program, I have recommended that Coach Chizik not be retained," said Jacobs. "President Gogue has accepted my recommendation. Earlier this morning, I informed Gene that he will not return as head coach."
Jacobs noted that Coach Chizik has served Auburn with class and dignity. "He has exemplified the ideals of the Auburn Creed throughout his tenure here, and it has been a pleasure to work with him. I personally appreciate all that he has done and wish him the best."
In four seasons at Auburn, Chizik guided the Tigers to a 33-19 record, including a 3-9 mark in 2012. Chizik led Auburn to a perfect 14-0 season in 2010 and the BCS National Championship. Auburn was 8-5 in his first season in 2009 and again in 2011.
University President Dr. Jay Gogue added, "I sincerely appreciate Coach Chizik and his staff for their commitment, hard work and leadership. Athletics Director Jay Jacobs is now devoting his time and energy to search for a new coach who will lead Auburn football to excellence. I look forward to receiving a recommendation from his committee."
Working with Jacobs on the search committee are noted Auburn alumni Mac Crawford, Pat Sullivan, and Bo Jackson.
"The search committee will work hard and work smart, consistent with the expectations set by Dr. Gogue," Jacobs said. "We will be thorough and thoughtful as we look for someone with a track record as a proven winner, a commitment to playing within the rules and a focus on student-athlete academic success. We're privileged to have such a distinguished group put in the time and effort to lead this search."
Full statement from Coach Gene Chizik:
I am very grateful for the opportunity that I had during the last four seasons to serve as the head football coach at Auburn University. I'm extremely disappointed with the way this season turned out and I apologize to the Auburn family and our team for what they have had to endure.
In my 27 years of coaching, I have gained an understanding of the high expectations in this profession. When expectations are not met, I understand changes must be made.
While we experienced a tremendous low in 2012, I will always be proud of the incredible highs that we achieved, including three bowl victories, an SEC championship and a national championship.
I want to thank Dr. Gogue and Jay Jacobs for the great opportunity they gave me. I'm confident in their leadership ability to continue to move this football program forward.
I feel blessed to have been surrounded with so many great coaches, players and administrators that have worked relentlessly and dedicated themselves to this institution. I will miss not being able to continue to mentor these players on a daily basis. I'm confident these young men will continue to excel both on and off the field. They are a great group and I wish them nothing but the best.
I've been fortunate to spend seven years of my coaching career at Auburn, which is an incredible place to work and live. My family and I have been blessed to call Auburn home and look forward to remaining in the Auburn community.
I have said this many times, but the Auburn fans are the best in college football. They have an incredible passion and love for their school and I want to thank them for their support in good times and in bad times.
As I said four years ago when I arrived, Auburn was great way before we got here and it will remain great long after we leave. My sentiments about Auburn have not and will not change. I wish the next football coach all the best and I anticipate a smooth transition.
I encourage the Auburn family to continue to be 'All In' and support this great university and its athletics programs. War Eagle!
Letter from Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs:
Dear Auburn Family,
First and foremost, I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have reached out to me in recent days and weeks to express your concerns about our football program. You are the best fans in the country, and I appreciate your passion and love for Auburn University.
We have talked a lot in recent years about building the foundation it takes to consistently compete at a high level in the nation's toughest conference. Despite substantial investment in personnel and facilities made possible by your support, the football program did not live up to our expectations. The results of the 2012 football season are simply unacceptable at Auburn.
After suffering some tough losses in a transition year in 2011, we had hoped our team would show improvement this season. Unfortunately, it has not. The competition in our league is fierce and is currently at an all-time high, and we cannot risk falling further behind by waiting another year and hoping for improvement.
That is why after careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of our football program, I have recommended that Coach Gene Chizik not be retained. President Gogue has accepted my recommendation. Earlier this morning, I informed Coach Chizik that he will not return as head coach.
My primary consideration in making this recommendation was doing what is in the best interests of our current student-athletes and the future of our football program. That has always been my top priority, and it always will be.
While I am disappointed that Coach Chizik's career here has come to an end we will long cherish the memories of our first National Championship in 53 years. Gene and his staff will always be a part of the Auburn Family, and we wish them and their families the best.
This season demonstrated that we need a different direction to get where we want to go. We will move as quickly as possible in our search for a new Head Coach, guided by the benchmarks President Gogue and I expect. Those benchmarks are a track record as a proven winner, a commitment to playing within the rules and student-athlete academic success.
I am pleased to announce that we have put together an outstanding search committee to find our next head coach. The committee consists of several great Auburn leaders who share our commitment to competing at the highest level and who understand what it takes to succeed at Auburn. I am honored that Mac Crawford, Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan have agreed to join our efforts to find the best coach possible for our student-athletes, the students of Auburn University and the Auburn Family. I'm proud to be part of this distinguished group.
A press conference will be held later today to formally announce this change. In the days ahead, you can expect rumors to swirl and inaccurate reports to surface about who is under consideration to be our next Head Coach. That is the nature of coaching searches at this level. I will not respond to rumors or speculative reports during the search process, but I do look forward to announcing our new Head Coach once the search is complete.
I regret that the Auburn Family, and especially our season ticket holders and Tigers Unlimited donors, have had to endure a frustrating and difficult season. You expect and deserve better.
It is time to heal and turn the page to the next chapter of Auburn football. It is time to pull together and forge ahead to the brighter future that awaits us.
We have endured tough times before, and we have always emerged stronger. I have no doubt that will be our course once again.
God Bless and War Eagle!