The Real Reason Turner Gill Did Not Get the Auburn Head Coaching Job

Joe Burgett @JoEburGett_WESenior Writer IIIDecember 17, 2008

As many know, Buffalo coach Turner Gill is now a MAC champion. He has just signed a new one-year extension with Buffalo and he has a pay raise to boot. But before that he had been looking at other head coaching jobs.

The two he was really looked at were Auburn and Syracuse. And he was passed over for both, but many want to know why.

Charles Barkley, like he always does, comes out and says it that since Gill is black, he did not get the head coaching job at Auburn. And many can believe him on this because of Alabama's past in civil rights.

When Barkley grew up, there was a lot of hate towards the African American community, particularly in the south, and even more particularly in Alabama.

Then we had the Civil War, as you all know, where the South lost to the North. And the rest was, well, history. But people still think Alabama is a racist state. And many older people who live in Alabama are still a bit racist.

But the problem with that is, white people are not the only racist people. African Americans are, too. Now, I am not saying that all African American people are, of course, but there are still some.

And who can blame them, after what White America did to them? But people such as the African American community come out like Barkley and say that people are getting passed over for head coaching positions.

And sure, it is possible, but let's face the facts before assuming, Barkley. See, Gill coaches in the MAC. And, yes, it is an OK conference, but we can all agree it is not at the level of the SEC, Big 10, Big 12, or even ACC in college football?

Sure, maybe in basketball they are, Charles, but not in football. Gill had one team that was any threat to Buffalo, and that was Ball State. Buffalo ended up beating Ball State this year to claim the MAC championship.

And Gill was looked at as the best fit for open head coaching jobs. And there is no doubt that he is a good head coach, but he is playing D-1's version of the best D-2 teams.

The reason he was passed over for the head coaching job at Auburn was not racism, as many people, especially Barkley, think. It was the fact of him not being at the level of other coaches they interviewed.

Since he has worked only in the MAC or other smaller brands of football, it is not likely he'd get an open job right away in only three years of head coaching Division 1 football. And also he was never an assistant or anything on a prominent team.

Many of Auburn's candidates were, such as Texas Tech's Mike Leach, Chris Peterson of Boise State, and even Gene Chizik. Chizik was on the Auburn 2004 team as defensive coordinator when they went 14-0.

They were snubbed out of the national title game and were the only team to be undefeated and not be a national champion that year. Chizik ended up going on to other places eventually ending up in the Big 12 conference, where he, of course, coached Iowa State, a pretty bad team that really had never been good. But he played teams such as Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and others.

Whereas Gill played Ball State and possibly an outside conference opponent or two. Chizik was the man who got the job because he first of had ties to Auburn.

Second, he played in a conference that had been considered the better conference last year, the Big 12. Auburn had been a team that had been reliant of defense and wanted to continue that.

Chizik had been one of the better D-coordinators for a while and of course was a D-coordinator at Auburn. Gill is an offensive guy who does not play the style of offense an SEC school such as Auburn plays.

Sure, Buffalo had a pretty good defense but that was all Buffalo's D-coordinator, not Gill. And also they were a MAC conference team, too.

Also he had never been in the SEC or another big name conference as Chizik was, so Gill didn't get the Auburn job because of a lack of experience in place like the SEC. It was easy to say racism was a factor here.

But if Gill would have been white, we would have thought it out this way and in no way assume that is was another case of Alabama racism. Again, Barkley said it, but no other person from Auburn spoke out about it.

I wonder why, and even people who played football in Auburn have not spoken out about it. Barkley assumes everything is a racist issue. We all know that. Why are believing it now, though?

The fact of it being Auburn, Ala., and not Syracuse, N.Y., which, by the way, he was passed over for, too. But Barkley forgot to call them racist. Chizik no doubt did not deserve it as much as other coaches.

And if you put records side by side with Gill and Chizik, of course Gill's looks better, but you have to think of where they both played ball. Chizik in the Big 12 with a really bad team before he even got there in Iowa State.

Gill, of course, came and turned around Buffalo in three years, another year over Chizik's two with Iowa State. And Chizik had to play against quality national title contenders. No one in the MAC even if undefeated would be in the conversation of a national championship contender.

So, of course, he may look the part, but Gill would have not been the better choice here. Chizik was just a step above for the fact of where he played. Of course, guys like Mike Leach may have a case too.

The main problem with the Auburn hire was that it was too fast. All the people they spoke to for the job were over the phone, such as Leach of Texas Tech, who wanted the job.

The only person who did a face to face interview was Chizik because he was not preparing for a bowl game, as the rest of the candidates were. They did not search long enough.

The only reason they hired so fast was because they wanted to get a step on Nick Saban, who along with Urban Meyer basically controls the Southeastern Conference. Both are tremendous recruiters.

And Auburn needed to start on recruiting fast or they would not be able to compete right away, which they don't look like they will do, anyway. Take this from a guy who lives in Alabama.

All this was, was another one of Barkley's rants that he cannot back up with fact.  He loves to omit the facts and go straight to racism. Next time maybe he will look things over.


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