Gene Chizik Fired: 5 Candidates Who Will Help Save Auburn's Recruiting Class
Change at the coaching position is never a good thing for recruiting, so Auburn needs to do all it can to bring in a coach that will not only be a good fit for the future, but one that will be a big enough draw to keep most or all of their current recruits interested in the program.
It's a very delicate situation, but these five coaches would all be great options for the future, and they'd also help keep the 2013 class together.
Note: h/t to AuburnUndercover.com for their coaching search hotboard.
5. Chris Petersen
Chris Petersen is the head coach of the Boise State Broncos and he's a huge reason their program has become very successful and relevant within the college football world.
Auburn would be able to provide Petersen with a huge step up in the coaching ranks, and he'd certainly be a big enough name to keep 2013 recruits committed to the Tigers.
Petersen is a winner, 82-8 at Boise State, and he'd restore a ton of excitement around the Auburn program.
4. Gus Malzahn
Gus Malzahn knows Auburn football.
Malzahn was Auburn's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2009-2011. He was a key member of Chizik's staff when the Tigers won the national championship with Cam Newton at quarterback.
Recruits will remember Malzahn from his time with the Tigers.
As a first-year head coach, he has Arkansas State ranked No. 27 overall in the FBS, scoring 35.6 points per game.
Malzahn would be a great hire for the future, and he'd also be able to keep Auburn's 2013 class together based off his history at the program and current success at Arkansas State.
3. Kirby Smart
Kirby Smart is currently the defensive coordinator at Alabama, so he's running the defense that's currently ranked No. 1 in the nation and only giving up 9.3 points per game.
Auburn's 2013 class is extremely strong on the defensive side of the ball—featuring 5-star inside linebacker Reuben Foster and 5-star defensive ends Dee Liner and Carl Lawson—so bringing in a coach with Smart's track record of dominance on defense would be a huge help when it comes to keeping those players committed.
The only catch is that Smart has never been a head coach, but considering his success with the Crimson Tide, he's definitely worth a shot.
2. Jimbo Fisher
Jimbo Fisher is currently the head coach at Florida State, and considering the success he's had with the Seminoles, he's going to be a long-shot for the Auburn job.
That said, I wouldn't count him out.
Fisher was the quarterbacks coach at Auburn from 1993-1998, so he has a ton of experience with the program. He was also the offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000-2006 before becoming offensive coordinator and eventually head coach at FSU, so his coaching experience in the SEC is vast.
Fisher is a great recruiter, so he should be able to keep the 2013 class intact. He'd be a great hire from a pure coaching standpoint as well. Florida State is scoring 41.5 points per game this year while only giving up 15.1.
The Tigers could have trouble trying to get him to leave FSU, but the allure of the job and the chance to coach a big-time SEC program could give them a chance.
1. Bobby Petrino
Bobby Petrino would be a huge coaching name that 2013 recruits will instantly recognize, but he will come with some baggage.
Petrino was fired from Arkansas last spring because of a scandal involving an affair, so he would be a rather controversial hire. That said, he's shown interest in the position before (albeit under secret circumstances), and personal life aside, there's no doubting that he's a good coach.
His overall record as head coach at Arkansas was 34-17.
Perhaps Auburn could provide him with a fresh start. He'd provide them with a ton of coaching talent and a very recognizable name for recruits.