Auburn’s HC Gene Chizik is not known to be overly informative from the press conference podium in his three years with the Tigers. Chizik rarely gives even a morsel of goodness to reporters on the edge of their seats awaiting breaking news to slip out.
Despite his tight-lipped approach with the media, Chizik has had a host of quotable lines since arriving on the Plains. Most of them are now found on T-shirts at the local Tiger Rags store.
Looking back at the lines that have led to motivation and catch phrases, here are HC Gene Chizik’s top five most impactful phrases.
When Gene Chizik first arrived in Auburn, there was a host of mixed feelings from the Auburn family and the national media. The majority of the Auburn family was in support of their new guy, however, and showed their approval by appearing at the airport when he first landed as Auburn’s head coach.
The Tigers administration found a coach that had been in Auburn before as a coordinator, and one that from day one said he loved Auburn for all the right reasons. Upon his arrival, Chizik met the fans with an impromptu speech that changed Auburn culture.
Chizik starts with a “War Eagle” and then gets to the heart saying, “These people of Auburn University, the Auburn family is what I got into coaching for.”
Chizik dropped the “Auburn family” line. Chizik has worked hard at creating an environment on the recruiting trail and in the football offices that highlights the Auburn spirit felt by so many of the Auburn, well, family. Chizik landed his first impactful quote day one on the job.
During the 2010 march to the national title, the Auburn team faced a wealth of adversity. Before the Cam Newton character assassination began, however, the Tigers were simply trying to defy the odds that so many put before them.
No one expected the Tigers to have the season that they did, especially by the time the Clemson game rolled around.
Gene Chizik took to the streets and hosted a last minute pep rally on the Auburn campus in an attempt to juice up the students for the game that Saturday. Chizik broke into his speech and midway through uttered, “I need everybody on that field all in, and here is my message to you. I need every one of you guys all in Saturday night.”
The "All In" phrase began to pop up on shirts and bumper stickers mere days later. The Chiz strikes again.
2009 was an interesting transition year for the Tigers football team. Gene Chizik was in his first year with the Tigers and had replaced one of the most successful coaches in Auburn history.
The Tigers were heading into the third game of the season sitting at 2-0, but West Virginia was going to be a tough Thursday night test for the Tigers. Just a year prior, the Mountaineers had trounced the Tigers in Morgantown. Most pointed to a repeat in 2009.
The Tigers faced an hour-long delay due to a torrential downpour that had come through Auburn that night. Gene Chizik was preparing to lead his Tigers onto the deluged field, and he turned to prep the Tigers by saying, “This place was made great way before you got here.”
It was a simple speech that has become a focal point for his tenure so far. Gene Chizik has made a major emphasis on Auburn’s history and founding principles. His point was made and continues to be repeated around the Auburn program.
No other athlete in recent college football history has faced the pure character assassination that Cam Newton faced in 2010. How many parking tickets he received at the University of Florida was actually a news-making report.
Most recently, Deadspin.com released an article showing the email chains between reporters and Kirk Sampson, Auburn Assistant A.D. and Media Relations officer, during the investigation period. Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com asks Sampson in an email highlighted in the article, “Am I sick? Are we all sick?”
Auburn HC Gene Chizik faced off with the media often in defense of his quarterback during the ongoing media-driven scandal, saying at one point “I’m standing up here on a very important week trying to defend something that, quite frankly, is garbage.”
There is no better way to put the barrage of attempted destruction that was pointed in the direction of Newton in 2010.
Gene Chizik has faced adversity, killed the energy vampires that he spoke about when he first came to Auburn and led the Tigers to the largest come-from-behind victory in school history in 2010.
The Tigers were 11-0 with one game left before the Tigers could finish the regular season undefeated. Auburn traveled to Tuscaloosa for the annual Iron Bowl showdown and came away the most unlikely victor given the start of the contest.
At the end of the game, Chizik spoke to his team giving them words that are bigger than football. Chizik said:
“You fight it when it don’t look good, you fight it when everybody counts you out, you fight it when there’s no way that anyone thinks you can do it but you, you keep fighting and at some point you’re going to win it.”
Words that transcend football, Chizik is a walking motivational quote book it seems at times. Chizik is building his legacy one coined phrase at a time.