Tonight on ESPN Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik will be honored as the Home Depot National Coach of the Year. The award will be presented at the annual Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN this evening at 7 pm EST and will be broadcast live from Walt Disney's Boardwalk in Orlando, Florida. The event highlights the National Coach of the Year, the awarding of nine player awards, and the announcement of the Walter Camp All-American Team.
In just his second year, Coach Chizik has led his team to an undefeated season, an SEC Championship and Auburn's first ever BCS National Championship game. His 21 wins are the most wins for a second year coach in Auburn history. The 56-17 SEC Championship win over South Carolina on December 4th, catapulted the Tigers in to their first number one ranking since 1985.
He led the Tigers to an 8-5 record in 2009 and became the first Auburn coach to win a bowl game in his first year. He has now been a part of three undefeated seasons in his career. Two of those seasons have been with the Tigers; this season's 13-0 record and the 13-0 2004 team. The other time was with Texas in 2005; after the '04 season he won the Frank Broyles Award as the Nation's Top Assistant Coach.
Two other Coach of the Year Awards for Coach Chizik was announced earlier in the week. On Monday he was named the SEC Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and on the same day he was named the American Football Coaches Association Region 2 Coach of the Year. There are five regional winners and the AFCA National Coach of the Year winner will be announced January 11th at the annual AFCA Convention in Dallas. In addition Chizik is a finalist for the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year and the Paul Bryant National Coach of the Year.
In receiving the news Wednesday of his selection as the National Coach of the Year Chizik remarked, "I'm very humbled to receive this award, this is not just an individual award. It is a reflection of the hard work and success of our team, coaches and staff. It is an honor to receive this award on behalf of Auburn University."
Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs said, "I want to congratulate Coach Chizik on the high honor of being named the Home Depot Coach of the Year. Coach Chizik has done a spectacular job in a short period of time at Auburn. Leading us to a 13-0 record just two seasons after being named head coach is a remarkable accomplishment, but we are most proud of Coach Chizik for the character and integrity with which he represents Auburn University and the outstanding role model that he is for our student-athletes. This award is also a tribute to a sensational team of outstanding young men and a phenomenal group of assistant coaches. It is a credit to them all and to Auburn."
We all can agree with Jay Jacobs. Coach Chizik "is a credit to all" that play, that coach, that are alumni, and that pull for the Orange and Blue. Congratulations Coach on a well earned and a well deserved honor. War Eagle!
(Editor's update 1- 24- 11: Coach Chizik went on to win both the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year, the Paul Bear Bryant National Coach of the year, and the Bobby Bowden National Coach of the year. In total, he won four of the six NCOTY Awards.)