Former Auburn Tigers offensive lineman Andrew McCain took to Facebook following the news that head coach Gene Chizik would indeed be relieved of duties as the head football coach.
I find myself heavy hearted today as a result of Coach Chizik’s dismissal at Auburn. I understand the nature of this business and the expectations at Auburn better than most. For this reason, I am aware that this past season was unacceptable. With that being said, before you dance on the grave of Chizik’s tenure at Auburn, I would like to point out a couple of things. The National Championship speaks for itself, as should the “overachieving” seasons he had in 2009 and 20011. Still, I would like to bring to light a few things that many people may not be aware of. The previous coaching staff, for several different reasons, had left behind a group of young men that were damaged, discouraged and bitter towards Auburn. I was ready to leave auburn, as were several teammates (teammates that would be integral to the 2010 National Championship run). All of that changed the day Coach Chizik and his staff stepped on campus. We became students before athle tes, people before scholarships, sons before players, and a family before a football team. He “fixed” the hearts and heads of young men that will go forward to be some of the greatest advocates and ambassadors Auburn has ever known. This, along with a national title and conference championship, will be his lasting legacy at Auburn. I stood with Coach Chizik though grueling workouts and hellacious practices, through joyous victories and agonizing defeats, through trying times and sweet redemption. I also stood with Coach Chizik at a children’s hospital in Tampa, Florida, after he and I and a handful of my teammates had the privilege of visiting with the patients for a few hours. He looked at me and said “You know, Andrew, you can’t ever forget what’s most important in life.” He hasn’t forgotten. Neither have I. Thank you Coach. Thank you for everything.
Despite the way that things panned out for Chizik, he brought Auburn something that hadn’t been achieved on The Plains in over half a century, a football national championship. That won’t be soon forgotten.
Thanks Gene for bringing us one of the most memorable years in Tigers history.
War Damn Eagle.
Quote courtesy of Reddit.com.