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November 25, 2012

AUBURN FOOTBALL: Tigers fire Gene Chizik after 3-9 season

(Continued)

AUBURN —

He was 33-19 in four seasons and 15-17 in SEC games.

Auburn said the total buyout for Chizik and his assistant coaches is $11.09 million. Chizik's buyout is expected to total $7.5 million and will be paid in monthly installments for the next four years.

Six assistants are under contract through June 30, 2013 while defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler and wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor have deals extending another year beyond that.

The buyouts could be reduced if the coaches find other jobs.

Auburn joins Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky as SEC teams with job openings showing the huge divide in a league with six teams ranked in the Top 11.

Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen said players gave Chizik a warm ovation after the team meeting.

"I think we did what he deserved and we gave him a standing ovation and clapped for him," he said. There's so much love for coach Chizik on this team. Would we have loved to see him get another year, another opportunity? Yes, but at the same time we understand where Jay Jacobs is coming from. Three wins isn't going to cut it in our league."

Defensive tackle Jeff Whitaker said, "It's kind of crazy right now. I had a special bond with Coach Chizik."

Chizik inserted tailback Tre Mason on the final play against Alabama to get him to 1,000 yards. The next day, Mason saw his coach get fired.

"It was a rough day for everybody," Mason said. "It's tough. There are going to be a lot of tears shed because there are a lot of relationships that may be put on hold or come to an end today. I have nothing negative to say about coach Chizik. He's done a lot for me and this program. I wish him the best of luck in his future."

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