Gene Chizik Much Like Pat Dye, Eager To Prove Himself

Michael AbbottContributor IIIMay 9, 2010

If you are old enough to remember coach Dye's hiring, it was much like the hiring of Gene Chizik—Who? How is this guy going to compete against Bear Bryant? Yeah he's been in the SEC, but big deal. East Carolina, where's that at? Wyoming, they play football?

Dye wasn't a household name. He wasn't the first choice, Vince Dooley was. But he had a fire and ambition to coach and much like Gene Chizik, he had something to prove. They would never admit it in public, but the coach across the state was the one to prove it to.

The parallels of Dye and Chizik are obvious. Not many good players to work with, a strong coach at Bama, and not many in state recruits are coming to Auburn. And if you remember, Dye said one sentence that gave the Auburn people hope. When asked how long would it take him to beat Alabama, Dye said "60 minutes."

Gene Chizik has done the same. But not with words, his actions. He went head to head right away with Bama over recruits, something the former staff didn't even try too much to do. Top players from the region were thinking about Auburn for a change. Auburn lost out on many, but one could see and sense a different attitude in recruiting.

Dye paved the way, went head to head with 'Bama, got his share, and in two years was playing in the Sugar Bowl for a national title chance. Dye knew he didn't have to get all the best players, but you gotta fight for your share, not lay back and let everyone else reap the rewards.

How do you know when a Auburn coach is doing well? When the other side takes time to bash him. Coach Dye was hated by 'Bama fans, Chizik is well on his way. With a couple more good recruiting classes, he'll be the most hated man in Alabama proving to them, and  the Alabama media, that yeah you can win at Auburn, something Pat Dye proved already.