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December 22, 2008

Jason Whitlock on the Auburn Hire

(This has been in my draft folder since Friday. I forgot to publish earlier)

Jason Whitlock, an outspoken black columnist who I enjoy reading, wrote an article for Fox Sports about Auburn's hiring of Gene Chizik. The article wanders around in an attempt to make several points with mixed results. However, there are a few extremely lucid comments including:
    1. Tuberville is the real victim of this process. Not Turner Gill.

    2. Whitlock feels that Gill wasn't ready for the Auburn job. Rushing him into a meat grinder job like that right now wouldn't be in his best interest. He essentially agrees with the Auburn AD who said that Gill wasn't the right "fit."

    3. Whitlock is a former player at Ball State so he's pretty familiar with the MAC. He says that Gill could be a future super star in coaching, but it's still too early to tell. That the media hype around him exceeds his current resume. He suggests that the perfect next job for Gill might be TCU (when it opens) because that's where Gill is originally from.

    4. Auburn would've been better off not interviewing him given the backlash they have received.
I agree with most of those points except item #4. Auburn's problem isn't that they interviewed Gill. Their problem is that they gave the job to 5-19 Gene Chizik. His shockingly weak resume creates the sort of disparity / contrast that makes you want to make George Wallace jokes.

Auburn's problems aren't the Turner Gill vs. Gene Chizik comparison. It's the Tommy Tuberville vs. Gene Chizik comparison. So in that sense, Whitlock's point #1 is most accurate.

Charles Barkley was only half right in his tirades following the Chizik hire. As Barkley pointed out, Chizik was most certainly the least qualified man who interviewed for the job based on resume. However, that doesn't mean that Turner Gill was the most qualified guy. Statement A about Chizik's weak resume and 10 game losing streak is pretty much a fact while Statement B regarding Gill's resume is simply Barkley's opinion / preference.

Regardless, Auburn's process was a mess. Those screaming for a Rooney Rule in the wake of the Auburn debacle don't get what the Rooney Rule actually is. It's simply a mandate that NFL owners interview black candidates for jobs. It's not a mandate that they hire them. Auburn interviewed Gill and Rodney Garner. They were probably in more complete compliance for a hypothetical Rooney Rule than any SEC team in history.

It's just that the Chizik hire on its face is so staggeringly bad that you can't help but question the motives and thought process of everyone involved.


Note: If you're wondering, UGA formally interviewed Ray Sherman after Donnan left. We've had two black head basketball coaches, and we have a black athletic director. We're luckily on the moral high ground for this issue.


Paul Westerdawg said...


The fact that Ray Sherman was probably a token interview isn't exactly a feather in UGA's cap. I was more saying that we were in Rooney Rule compliance (if there was one in the SEC).

Also, this article originally had a wildly different introduction. I ditched all of that stuff. So if you saw the old headline about boxers, ignore it.



Crane said...

Looks like Everyone is going to need some excedrin...

rbubp said...

Excellent post, PWD.

murphdawg said...

I'd like to have the first black head basketball coach back please.

Hobnail_Boot said...


The problem isn't that Auburn hired white Gene Chizik, it's that they hired 5-19 Gene Chizik.

And by problem, I mean "hilarious situation that I hope sets the Tigers back 30 years and prevents any decent recruits from considering them and allows UGA to overtake the overall series lead by a couple dozen games".

skidawg1985 said...

I had not seen Gill's career record. I knew it was below .500. What if Auburn had hired a white coach with one winning season and a 15-22 record?

What Gill has done at Buffalo is remarkable. I actually think he is too good for Auburn and agree with Whitlock that Gill was not ready for the SEC, especially one with a fan base that was not going to be very welcoming. I make that last comment based not on race, but on the fact that the fan base was not happy about Auburn running off Tuberville.

2-3 more years of winning at Buffalo and Gill might be set to take over at a program with known stability. If I were Gill, I would be waiting for a Big 12 job or Penn State.

I had either missed or forgotten that UGA interviewed Ray Sherman.

This is also a good read

Anonymous said...

Many minorities want race to be a non-issue during the hiring process. Basically, judge a man on his character, morality, and record - not race.

But when the process trumps a minority for a majority, then the race card is pulled faster than Billy-the-Kid's colt 45.

Can't have it both ways guys. Pick a side and stick with it, but don't perpetuate the double-standard that we've all grown to abhor.

Things happen for a reason and Turner Gill and his *advocates* will realize this when he lands a better job, for him, down the road.

Anonymous said...

Hey PWD -- Any word on the Searals situation? I have a gut feeling that he is heading to the Plains. I think that if we take a step back, the 09 version of the Dawgs are not too much different from the Tigers on a talent level.

Hobnail_Boot said...

aTm CC? Ouch....

peacedog said...

Paul, I've seen it alleged that Myles Brand claims 30% of interviews go to black coaches. I'd love to see that statistic and know if it was legit. If so, a Rooney rule is probably irrelevant.

Like you said, though, it's not really an issue of interviewing, but hiring.

skidawg1985 said...

Brands claim is here

What is he doing posting at THAT website?

I would not be surprised if 1/3 of the schools interview a black candidate. There are maybe 15 openings a year at Division 1A. That only means that 5 have to interview a black candidate.

This inspires a story idea for The Onion: A former black football coach starts a business hiring himself out to be the the black candidate that schools or NFL teams can interview to meet either the unwritten or written rule.

Many people probably missed that Eastern Michigan hired Ron English as its head coach. Looks like the number of black head coaches in 2009 is going to be about the same as 2008. I will bet that 10 years from now the number will have easily doubled.

Dubbayoo said...

I'm black so let me be the first of many to say people aren't looking at the REAL issue here. The problem isn't that there aren't enough black coaches. It's that there aren't enough qualified black candidates.

Think about it. Where do most head coaches come from? They come from Offensive/defensive coordinator positions. If you promote a black coach from WR/special teams/running backs coach to head coach he doesn't come into the job with the same level of experience as a white coach. Combine that with the fact that most schools willing to take a flyer on a black coach are 2nd/3rd tier programs to begin with (San Diego State, Buffalo) and you see the train wreck coming. An inexperienced coach at a low-level program is setup to fail right off the bat. (I can't explain why Willingham couldn't win at Washington).

The effort should be directed getting more black coordinators so there are more QUALIFIED black candidates. Roughly 240 coordinator positions available, really less since some HCs are a coordinator themselves. When 15-20% of those jobs are held by blacks and there are still only 4-5 black HCs THEN we have a problem. It doesn't do anything for "the cause" to have a black coach get shellacked at Temple just to be able to say "we got one".

Do I think Turner Gill should get a HC job somewhere? Heck yeah? namely Iowa State. Do I want Turner Gill as HC at UGA? HECK NO!

Look at the bright side. At least we stop crying about the lack of black QB's in the NFL. Now we just need a few that don't suck :)

Dubbayoo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dubbayoo said...

and today Miami of Ohio has named Notre Dame OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR Mike Haywood as its (black) head coach.

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