Chizik Discusses New Book, Newton, More

Auburn Coach Gene Chizik talks about his new book, what he hopes people can get from reading it, discusses Cam Newton, and much more.

Auburn, Ala.—On July 5th All In: What It Takes To Be The Best will hit the shelves and for Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik it's not just about winning a national championship.

Working on the book late at night and during some down time to avoid interrupting his family time and work schedule, Chizik said his book is one that should speak to people in all walks of live.

"It's really a story about football, family and faith, and not necessarily in that order," Chizik said. "It's a book we feel like on the football end of things is going to be a really unique look not only at the 2010 season, but some of the 2009 as well. It's a story of 100-plus special young guys that in 2010 nobody had on their radar as a potential national champion and in January of 2011 they were able to hold up the crystal ball that represented them being the best team in college football.

"There are a lot of behind the scenes looks on the journey (to the national championship) and how we were able to take a good team and really march towards being a great team," the coach noted.

When Chizik talks about family it's not just about his wife and kids at home, but also about everyone associated with the Auburn Family. He said one of the subjects he focuses on in the book is what it took to bring everyone together when he and his staff arrived late in 2008.

"The family part of things is very important to me," Chizik said. "It's really how we zeroed in on the team-building part. Let's be mindful that two years ago we were coming off a 5-7 football season. There were a lot of divisions on the team, a lot of barriers we needed to break down daily. In the team-building part, the family aspect there were some good insights as to how we were able to accomplish this. We think it's an applicable tale for this world.

"Whether it's your job or your family or your business or your church, it's not just about a football team but about building relationships to a championship level," he added. "We thought that was a huge part of the success we had."

Gene Chizik addresses his Auburn football team prior to the Tigers' SEC Championship Game victory over South Carolina.

Faith is something that has been evident as well in Chizik's time at Auburn and something that has been a part of Auburn football since the arrival of team chaplain and counselor Chette Williams. Chizik said in the book he wanted to talk about how faith helps with everyday life and the problems that people face and the struggles they have.

"In the faith element I was able to talk about the role it plays in my life and how in this crazy world of college football we navigate our way through it," Chizik said. "In college football you go through a lot of highs and lows and the role our faith plays in keeping us very grounded and on the right track. I feel like everybody can relate to it. You don't just have to be a football fan.

"There is a universal message in the book as well," he said. "That's kind of hope and encouragement. When I say that it comes from the perspective of a 5-19 coach (at Iowa State) who comes to Auburn and two years later was blessed enough to win a national championship when probably very few people thought that would be a possibility. Everybody lives their 5-19 in their world.

"Everybody has got their 5-19 going on with the struggles. For some it's the loss of a job, some it's a diagnosis, some it's a spouse or a divorce. Everybody has got their 5-19 so hopefully out of the book people can get encouragement to be able to overcome and keep pressing towards the prize even though you have the 5-19 going on in your life."

One of the things co-writing the book allowed Chizik to do was to reflect on last season's amazing run to the BCS National Championship. Starting off out of the conversation and winning it all was a ride to remember and while Chizik said he'll have time to do that more in-depth down the line, it was fun to think back some and relive it again.

"It was really unique because it was the first time and the only time since Wes Byrum made that kick that I actually had time to really sit down and think about how that season unfolded in any sort of depth," Chizik said. "It was really kind of a neat time for me to go back. I've said it many times that you probably get a chance later in your career or when your career is over to look back on something like that to really sink in. To a small degree I was able to do that."

You couldn't write a book dealing with Auburn's 2010 season without talking about Cam Newton and the drama that surrounded him during the year. Chizik has never shied away from backing Newton and the way he and Auburn handled things in the recruiting process. The coached made it clear in his book nothing has changed with how he views the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback.

"I think me going to bat for Cameron Newton is something in my spirit and in my heart I feel very strongly about," Chizik said. "Let's be very mindful of this--he's a very gifted person and not just as an athlete. He's an amazing kid. He needs to be remembered at Auburn as a great individual as well as a great player. From the time he stepped on campus from the time he left the young man did everything we asked him to do and did it with a smile on his face and loved it.

"He did things beyond what we asked him to do because that's who he is," Chizik noted. "I have a very strong allegiance to Cameron, not because he won 14 games for Auburn, but because of who is he and what he stood for while he was here."

While in Auburn, Newton volunteered his time to a local elementary school to try to help young kids struggling with school, at home, etc. That's also something that Chizik and his wife feel very strongly about as well. It's one of the reasons that all of the money made from the book by Chizik will be donated to their foundation to help young people in the Auburn area.

"My wife Jonna has a huge heart for children," Chizik said. "All of the proceeds of this book are going to go directly to helping the kids in the Auburn community and Lee County area. For anybody that is interested in getting involved in that that they can go to. It's Obviously, my wife is going to continue to do a lot of things behind the scenes in her vision to help the young people. Anybody that is interested I would encourage them to go to the website."

Chizik will be signing his book at selected locations beginning July 5. Here are the locations and schedule for his book tour.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 6–8 p.m. EDT
Book Ends
211 E. Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood, NJ

Thursday, July 7, 2011, 12–2 p.m. EDT
Lifeway Christian
667 Earnest W. Barrett Parkway, Kennesaw, GA

Thursday, July 7, 2011, 5:30–7:30 p.m. EDT
258 City Circle, Peachtree City, GA

Friday, July 8, 2011, 12–2 p.m. CDT
757 Brookwood Village, Birmingham, AL

Friday, July 8, 2011, 3–5 p.m. CDT
Lifeway Christian—The Avenue Peachtree City
1713 Montgomery Highway S, Birmingham, AL

Friday, July 8, 2011, 7:30–9:00 p.m. CDT
The Shoppes at East Chase
7074 East Chase Parkway, Montgomery, AL

Saturday, July 9, 2011, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. CDT
Barnes and Noble
1200 Airport Blvd., Pensacola, FL

Saturday, July 9, 2011, 2:30–4:30 p.m. CDT
2243 Tigertown Parkway, Opelika, AL

Saturday, July 9, 2011, 6:30–8:30 p.m. CDT
1725 Opelika Rd., Auburn, AL

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