Gene Chizik and the Auburn Tiger football program are on top of the world this morning; and somewhere Charles Barkley is probably bragging about his alma mater. Of course if you rewind two years, Barkley had very little good to say about Gene Chizik or anyone running his old university.
“You can say it’s not about race, but you can’t compare the two résumés and say [Chizik] deserved the job. Out of all the coaches they interviewed, Chizik probably had the worst résumé.” — Charles Barkley
He called his administrators racist and Chizik, essentially, a turrible coach. No everyone is allowed to have an opinion, but there should be some accountability. People shouldn’t be allowed to make outrageous statements and not at least have to admit at some point that they may have been mistaken.
In the case of Chizik, Barkley was not alone. SI’s Stewart Mandel said this
“None of that really matters, however, because Chizik has absolutely no chance of succeeding at Auburn. Zero. It’s hard enough to walk into a rebuilding situation at an SEC school — where the competition is ruthless, where you’re going head-to-head with one of the best recruiters in the sport (Saban) and where the fans are notoriously impatient. Any coach who inherited this job was bound to struggle for the first couple of years, which made it all the more important for him to have the support of the community.”
A commentator on ESPN’s Outside the Lines said that Chizik would prove to be the worst college football coaching hire since Gerry Faust. I wonder if he still believes that this morning.
Look, everyone in the sports business makes predictions and some come out wrong. What I have a problem with is the hyperbole. The “worst”, “racist”, “no chance of success” type statements that are ridiculous from the get go. How can a candidate that was the D-Coordinator for your school the last time they went undefeated be the “worst” of anything. He had also won a national title as a Defensive coordinator at Texas. Everyone was fixated on his two year record at Iowa State with another’s recruits at a school with no history of real success. He may or may not have eventually turned the Cyclones around, but that is not the only barometer of potential at a much different environment like Auburn.
The supposed better candidate was Turner Gill. let’s examine his resume for a moment. Yes , he took over bottom feeder Buffalo and had some success…. but how much. He was 20-30 in 4 years at Buffalo, only 14-18 in conference games. He went 0-11 in games against BCS conference opponents losing by an average of 23 pts a game. His best win at Buffalo was over BALL STATE.
This was the best coaching prospect of all time. At least the media echo chamber back in December 2008, would have you believe that. That made any attempt not to hire him, stupid, wrong, and racist. This destroyed any shot at Gene Chizik, who two years earlier was considered the top defensive coach in the country, from getting anything but anger and vitriol.
Well, who is laughing now. Definitely Chizik, the Auburn AD, and the Auburn team and fan base. Barkley is probably laughing too, but he shouldn’t be. He should be confined to watching Gill’s current teams (Kansas) 55-7 loss to Baylor and 59-7 loss to Kansas State on repeat.