Regardless of what these say, and they both do kind of make me feel good about the situation, I still don’t think that our coaching situation should have to come to a past coach (my favorite of all time) and our Athletics Director justifying the hire to the Auburn people in a mass email.
I keep going back to the fact that “money is not an obstacle,” yet most of our candidates were people that I could have paid their salary myself. All that being said, I’m starting to lean back towards backing Jacobs after I heard the statements from my new least favorite Auburn alum, Charles Barkley (more on that Wednesday). Anyway, read what landed in my inbox tonight, after the jump as they say.
The first is from Jacobs; the second from Coach Dye.
December 15, 2008
Dear Auburn family,
We began our search for a new head coach with a few fundamentally important criteria.
We wanted to find a man who would be the right fit for Auburn University. We wanted to find a man who would be committed to Auburn for years to come.
We wanted someone with head coaching experience that would give our current student-athletes the best chance to compete next year.
We wanted someone who would represent Auburn with character, class and integrity, who would coach our student-athletes to be successful on the field, in the classroom and in the game of life.
We found our man in Gene Chizik.
I thought it would be important for me to share what I saw in Coach Chizik in his time at Auburn and again during the interview process, and why I believe without a doubt that he is the right man for Auburn.
Most importantly, Coach Chizik is a man of exceptional character and integrity who epitomizes what we should all want in a head coach. During his three years at Auburn, I saw first-hand how his words always matched his deeds.
I saw his passion, his relentless work ethic and his burning desire to teach the game of football and build young men of character who will be successful students and good citizens.
Throughout the search process, we interviewed a strong group of candidates, but Coach Chizik clearly rose to the top. Everyone we talked with about Coach Chizik spoke about his impeccable character, relentless work ethic, his relationships with his players and his ability to motivate them.
During his time at Auburn as defensive coordinator, Coach Chizik was named the nation’s top assistant coach. He was a part of back-to-back undefeated seasons at Auburn and then Texas, where his defense helped lead the Longhorns to a national championship.
While Coach Chizik was clearly still in the process of building the program at Iowa State, he had a blueprint that he never deviated from and was continuing to build upon.
Of all the coaches we interviewed, Coach Chizik best understood where Auburn is and where we can be. He outlined a clear plan for the future that will put us into position to consistently compete for championships.
Other important factors that weighed heavily in my decision were Coach Chizik’s experience competing in the Southeastern Conference and his reputation as a relentless recruiter.
Coach Chizik is well known and highly respected among high school coaches throughout the Southeast and beyond. Those relationships will be invaluable during the recruiting process.
I also wanted to share a few final thoughts about the search process we just concluded. We began with a list of six top candidates and worked diligently to find out which man was the best fit for Auburn.
We did not talk to any coaches without first going through the proper channels and following the proper protocol. That is the way we are going to conduct business now and in the future, regardless of what is said or written.
The search to find the right man for Auburn reminded me how fortunate we are to be a part of something bigger than any one of us. We have an opportunity to impact the lives of countless student-athletes and to bring credit to Auburn University on the football field and far beyond.
In closing, please know that whatever differences we may have about the best way to get where we all want to go, I personally appreciate the passion, devotion and love you have for Auburn University. As a former football player and as your Athletics Director, I share that passion for, and belief in, Auburn.
Just imagine how strong we will be if we can all pull in the same direction, united in our belief that Auburn is a special place that we are all blessed to be a small part of now and forever.
Bright days are ahead for Auburn football, and it will be exciting to experience it together.
Thank you for your support of our new coach, our student-athletes and your University.
God bless, and War Eagle!
Director of Athletics
I woke up this morning with Auburn on my mind, which is not surprising since I went to sleep with Auburn on my mind.
This is a very emotional time for the Auburn family. We all have our own opinions about what is best for Auburn and about the impact that Auburn decisions will have on our lives.
I don’t expect everyone who reads this to agree with everything I say, but I just want you to know what I feel in my heart. This time of transition we are going through now reminds me of the time in 1981 when I walked into a room full of football players who had many questions and doubts about me coming in as the new head football coach.
Their frustration showed in their faces, and anxiety was in their eyes because of the unknown. I had a simple message: Whether they had come to Auburn for the right reasons or the wrong reasons, they had chosen to get their education and to play football at Auburn University, which would lay the foundation for the rest of their lives.
I told them that Auburn had chosen me and that I had chosen Auburn. I asked them as a team to be loyal to Auburn and to love Auburn. I said that I would also be loyal to Auburn and would love Auburn, and this loyalty and love would be our common ground which would lay the foundation that would serve Auburn for many years to come.
There is a lot of misinformation out there right now. The media people have their jobs to do and should have our respect for doing those jobs. But unless an individual has served as president of a major university, has been on the board of trustees of a major university, or has been athletic director or head football coach at a major university, it is hard to grasp how the people in these positions make the decisions that affect so many.
Unless you have walked in their shoes, you cannot begin to understand all that is involved in the process of making these decisions.
In addressing the current situation pertaining to our Athletic Director, Jay Jacobs, and his decision to hire Gene Chizik as our new Head Coach, I applaud all parties involved in the process for allowing Jay Jacobs to do his job.
Nobody is more qualified to make this decision than Jay. He is a true Auburn man to the bone and understands better than anybody the kind of man we need to lead our football program into the future. Gene Chizik is that man.
Because of the years I was involved in football – as a player, an assistant coach, a head coach, and as a part of teams that won championships at every level – I learned something about winning. One thing I am sure of is that I know what it takes to win. Teams where everyone played with the same heartbeat had a chance to win championships; teams that were not able to play like that never reached their full potential.
We don’t need to worry about what is going on around us. We only need to be concerned about what is going on at Auburn. And being the best we can be at Auburn will take care of what is going on around us. We are an Auburn family. Let’s see if we can play with the same heartbeat.
I know winning is important to the Auburn people. But so is character. Jay Jacobs has it and so does Gene Chizik. Now we’ll see if they can win. They are our team. I like it. War Eagle.
Coach Pat Dye