2016 Purdue Football Coaching Search: Gene Chizik
Candidate Tier #3
Category: Old(ish) Candidate
Who Is He?
Gene Chizik is the defensive coordinator at North Carolina, best known for riding Cam Newton’s Superman cape all the way to a national title after the 2010 season.
It actually shocked me to find out that Chizik only has 6 years of head coaching experience: two at Iowa State (where he went 5-19) and four at Auburn (33-19, propped up by that 14-0 Cam Superman season). Chizik’s 2012 Auburn team went winless in the SEC, leading to his inevitable ousting.
Prior to his time at Iowa State, Chizik was a defensive coordinator or associate head coach for 13 years, and flows directly from the Dungy/Kiffin/Lovie Tampa defensive tree. His defense at Texas helped propel the Longhorns to the 2006 Rose Bowl (well…there was that Vince Young guy too…but nevermind), and his time as a DC at Auburn earned him the Broyles Award.
It’s pretty clear that Chizik is a very good defensive coach, but has he done enough to warrant another head coaching opportunity?
Why would he be successful at Purdue?
Maybe. Creativity is necessary to succeed at Purdue, and Chizik would have to hire a really creative offensive mind for the other side of the ball. Gus Malzahn and Cam Newton are always pretty big advantages.
Defensively, he’d have to either have a leg up on recruiting for his system to work at Purdue, or get a whole lot more aggressive on the edges.
Also, his name is Gene. Can't overlook this critical fact.
Why could he flop at Purdue?
I have no doubt that Chizik will get another shot in college football…being a national championship winner and a coordinator on a fun UNC team will see to that. I just think that he’d be a lousy fit for Purdue, where vanilla schemes fail with astounding regularity.
Would he come to Purdue?
If Purdue reached out, Chizik would probably be interested. He is a perfect fit for the “old coach rehabs his rep at a lower Power 5 school” mold, and he’d absolutely see Purdue as a stepping stone to get back into the swing of the coaching carousel. I just think it would end pretty poorly.