In just his second season as Auburn University’s head football coach, Gene Chizik guided his team to a perfect 14-0 record and won the BCS National Championship, which has earned him the United States Sports Academy’s 2011 Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award.
Chizik, a 23-year coaching veteran, is scheduled to accept the award at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 15 at the university’s campus in Daphne, Ala. The award ceremony is planned in the Academy’s main gallery. The annual award goes to an individual who has experienced outstanding achievement as a coach and who exhibits a high standard of propriety, imagination, and innovation as a character-builder in the tradition of great teacher-coaches.
In 2008 when he was named coach, Chizik inherited an Auburn team that had finished with a 5-7 record. He quickly began rebuilding the program. Auburn defeated the University of Oregon in the BCS title game, which was selected as the Academy’s 2010 College Football Game of the Year. Auburn’s 2010 season was arguably one of its best in the school’s history. Despite a rugged schedule that included 10 games against bowl-eligible teams, Auburn finished undefeated. In fact, Auburn was the only team in the country that won seven games against teams ranked in college football’s Top 25. Plus, the season produced Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, who played quarterback.
Chizik also won many accolades following the 2010 national title, including four National Coach of the Year honors. Chizik, who served as Auburn’s defensive coordinator from 2002-04, proved he could be successful as a major college head coach in his first season with Auburn. The Tigers had an 8-5 record and a 2010 Outback Bowl victory, which made him the first head coach in Auburn history to lead his team to a bowl game in his first season. He is the third coach in Auburn history and only the third Southeastern Conference coach since 1992 to win his first five games as head coach.
His coaching career began as defensive coordinator in 1986 at Seminole High School in St. Petersburg, Fla., before he became a graduate assistant at Clemson in 1988. Chizik’s first full-time college coaching position came at Middle Tennessee State in 1990 and he has also coached at Stephen F. Austin, Iowa State and Texas.