Two years after leading Auburn to the Bowl Championship Series national title, Gene Chizik has been fired as coach of the Tigers. Also losing their college football coaching jobs Sunday were Danny Hope at Purdue and Tom O'Brien at North Carolina State.
Of course, Chizik had Cam Newton as quarterback in the 2010-11 season when Auburn defeated Oregon at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., to claim the coveted prize. The Tigers, though, had the biggest two-year slide of any national champion, finishing 3-9 this season.
Chizik, who had a 33-19 record in four seasons, took it as well as can be expected. Then again, he's under contract through 2015 at $3.5 million a year with a large buyout now owed him. Auburn hadn't lost nine games in a season since going 0-10 in 1950.
"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,” Chizik said in a statement Sunday. “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.”
Hope was sent packing after a 56-35 victory over Indiana on Saturday. He had a record of 22-27 in four seasons, taking the Boilermakers to one bowl game last season. After a 3-1 start this fall, injuries sent the team spiraling downward through Big Ten play.
O'Brien was released after six seasons, four of which ended in trips to bowl games. Unfortunately, he never got the Wolfpack into the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game and had an overall record of 40-35.