Gene Chizik: Retaining Coach More Costly to Program Than Firing Him

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Head coach Gene Chizik of the Auburn Tigers against the Virginia Cavaliers during the 2011 Chick Fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

By all accounts, Gene Chizik is one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet.

He has an engaging personality and people genuinely seem to like him.

But he's not the answer for what ails Auburn Football—he's the problem.

Since winning the National Championship with Cam Newton under center in 2010, Chizik has a .500 record, nine wins and nine losses.

Auburn has lost it's last five SEC games by a combined score of 151-48, and they have failed to put more than 14 points on the board in any of those losses. When you are losing to John L. Smith, who has become the punchline for a number of jokes, things are not going well for you.

Or your program.

Their lone win on the season came in Week 3 against Louisiana-Monroe, and while the Warhawks have an excellent offense and are in first place in the Sun Belt conference, they are the Lousiana-Monroe Warhawks.

The Auburn Tigers don't play close games against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, they chew them up and spit them out like tasteless chewing gum.

Exactly how far down the rabbit hole does the program have to sink before the university will stand up and take action?

In less than two years, Chizik has taken the program from first to worst.

A change of direction is desperately needed, and that can only come with a change in leadership.

While Chizik has a hefty $7.5 million payment due to him if the school buys out the remaining years on his deal, 

That's chump change compared to the damage that keeping Chizik around will cost.

We saw the beginning of it yesterday, with fans streaming out of Jordan-Hare Stadium well before the game reached it's conclusion.

That National Championship was won two years ago.

To a new generation of potential recruits, that's a lifetime.

Must Auburn be tagged with the "once-mighty" or "former National powerhouse" tags before Chizik is shown the door?

The 2012 season is lost, so replacing him now makes little sense.

But for 2013, for the future of the program, retaining his services is not something that the university need do.

Unless, of course, the ultimate goal is to dismantle a program that was once synonymous with excellence, brick-by-brick.