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