As you may have heard by now, Gene Chizik has written a book. A book, that in the publisher’s words,
"Chronicles the remarkable journey of Gene Chizik, who in two short years went from being the much-maligned 5–19 coach of the Iowa State Cyclones to the undefeated, AP SEC Coach of the Year of the 2010 national champion Auburn Tigers…As he recounts his journey, he opens up about the pivotal role his faith has played in his life and career, and he shares his time-tested secrets to success, both on and off the field."
The publisher’s blurb also includes this tagline: "All In is an inspirational must-read for football fans everywhere and for anyone who has ever struggled to overcome their own 5-19 season of life." Besides being hilariously overwrought, that sentence doesn’t make any sense. A coach can’t even compile a 5-19 season record in the NFL (Yet. Stay tuned to see if the owners get their way).
So far, so boilerplate. It’s pretty standard for a coach to write a book after winning the national championship. This book usually contains frothy mixture of platitudes about the school, his players, his family, his religion and how the incredible faith he had in all of the above allowed him to work his way humbly to a national championship season. This is bullshit, of course. Most BCS coaches work 60+ hours a week going over film, running practice & planning for the next opponent. They are not leading prayer circles and taking their kids to the state fair. But these books sell because they give fans a peek behind the scenes of their favorite football programs and allow them to perpetuate the myth that their coach is a humble, upstanding citizen who just wants to do right by his players (this is totally true for Paul Rhoads & Fred Hoiberg though. They’re the best!)
So you can’t begrudge Chizik for following the standard national champion coach formula. But the part that’s truly repulsive about Chizik’s book is found in the following passage:
"Chizik wrote that after his first interview with Auburn, he was convinced he wouldn’t get the job. And, after news of his talk with Auburn had been leaked to the media, Chizik left Jacobs a phone message telling him he was bowing out of consideration.
Chizik told Iowa State assistant athletic director Steve Malchow of that decision and boarded a plane back to Des Moines. But when Chizik landed, he got a text message from Jacobs to call him back.
When he did, Jacobs offered him the job.
"Make no mistake; I was humbled by Auburn’s decision. And I knew this had to be a God appointment because this whole thing just didn’t make sense otherwise. I knew God had to be behind opening this door — there was no other way it would have been opened," Chizik said in the book.
Chizik thinks God paved the way for Auburn offering him the head coaching job. This raises numerous philosophical questions, including the following:
Did God also instruct Tommy Tuberville to hire Tony Franklin, sending the offense into a death spiral in his final season and hastening Tuberville’s ouster?
What was the divine inspiration to hire former fishing buddies Robert McFarland & Wayne Bolt to coach offense & defense at Chizik’s first BCS coaching stop?
Was God ever around to help Chizik game plan during his 5-19 tenure at ISU? Seems like he could have used the assistance.
This line of logic is infuriating, because it seeks to deflect all blame from the person by placing the decision in the hands of a third party. "I didn’t want to leave Ames," Chizik is effectively saying, "But God made me an offer I couldn’t refuse." So while Chizik left Iowa State in the worst possible way, he’s now trying to gloss over saying he never really wanted to leave, insisting Jaime Pollard handled his departure the wrong way and invoking the lord. Make no mistake; one shouldn’t begrudge Gene Chizik leaving Iowa State for his dream job at Auburn. But feel free to judge him for the terrible job he did while he was around.