CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

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December 13, 2008

FANS SURPRISED

Local AU fans say they will stand by new head coach

If there’s a consensus among Auburn fans regarding the hiring of Gene Chizik, it’s that the new coach will have the full backing of the program’s supporters. Meanwhile, area football coaches expressed bewilderment at the choice.

According to Iowa State University, former coach Chizik was hired as the Tigers’ new head coach on Saturday.

Cullman County Auburn fans reacted with caution, but stressed that Chizik will have their full support.

“I think he has the mind for coaching and has enough experience to make a good head coach,” said Cullman County Auburn Club member Marcus Clark. “It may take two or three years to get there, but we’ll support him.”

Club secretary Charles Wunderlich pointed to Chizik’s role as Auburn’s defensive coordinator during the Tigers’ 13-0 2004 season.

“It’s definitely a positive,” he said. “He’s familiar with Auburn, the program and some of the people here. And he definitely did a good job when he was here.”

After more than a week of interviews and rumors, some were happy to see the search end.

“I’m happy that Auburn has found a coach,” said Clark. “And I understand that we can’t be in the top 10 every year, but they’ll bounce back.”

Club president Fred Bussey declined to comment.

Good Hope High football coach Chris Moss was surprised a former member of Tommy Tuberville’s staff was given the job.

“I just don’t think you fire a guy like Tommy Tuberville and then hire a guy that was his assistant,” he said.

Tuberville stepped down as Auburn’s coach Dec. 3 amidst rumors that he was under pressure from university trustees.

During the search, athletic director Jay Jacobs indicated money would not be a limiting factor while looking for a new coach.

Chizik earned $1.05 in base salary this season, in which Iowa State went 2-10. A buyout of his contract will cost $750,000.

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