HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)--The long-waited and highly anticipated shoe has dropped for Gene Chizik. Now the search is on for Auburn University's next head football coach--and no one is being quiet about it.
Auburn's coaching search is the talk of college football. Names are being tossed around left and right. The press--digital and otherwise--are all posing the same question: who will it be? Sports bloggers and journalists are also throwing in their two cents. Auburn's coach search is on the tip of every sports writer's tongue, pen, or keyboard.
The decision not to retain Gene Chizik; expected by most. Speculation about his possible replacement; hotly contested.
You have watched, either begrudgingly or with much delight , the steep decline of the Auburn football season. You have witnessed the hefty Iron Bowl defeat, and waited for the words: ‘Chizik, Canned’. But following the head coach firing the question on the minds of the Auburn family—‘who is next?’
WHNT News 19 spoke to a sports writer from Columbus, Georgia who says the potential pool is wide; the options, many. So, who could be Auburn's next football coach? Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Auburn football beat writer Aaron Brenner says from the plausible to the farfetched, there are thirty names to consider. But whether Florida State's Fisher, who has already expressed his happiness at home, or the rivals' disciple Kirby Smart, Brenner says there are some things Auburn will be looking for no matter what.
“They're probably going to look at somebody with SEC roots or at least someone who's in the south…that's really been a common thread," says Brenner.
The next must have for Auburn Brenner says is someone who can recruit.
Whether you like the sexy sound of Gus Malzahn or the bold pick of Bobby Petrino as a hopeful, Brenner says Auburn has got to have someone who can compete with Nick Saban's recruiting swag.
"Alabama is far and away the strongest recruiting program in the SEC and potentially the entire country,” Brenner contends, “because Gene Chizik could recruit with the best of them--the issue was then coaching them up."
Some would argue anyone who would even consider the job right now would be stepping into a mess with NCAA investigations swirling. But Aaron Brenner has a different take.
"There's no question that there is going to be a lot of people interested in this Auburn position,” insists Brenner. “Are there challenges? Of course--but you know what,” he says, “if there weren't challenges, they wouldn't have fired Gene Chizik."