Chizik Named Nation's Top Football Assistant Coach

Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik is taking home the Frank Broyles Award.

Little Rock, Ark.--Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik is taking home the prestigious Frank Broyles Award, presented annually to the nation's top major college football assistant coach.

Chizik was announced as the winner on Tuesday at an awards ceremony. The third year Auburn assistant helped the Tigers win the SEC title and finish 13-0 with a defense ranked No. 1 in the nation in fewest points allowed. The Tigers were also ranked fifth nationally in total defense.

Chizik poses with his wife Jonna and Coach Frank Broyles.

He personally coaches the secondary. Two of his four starters earned first team All-America honors--cornerback Carlos Rogers and safety Junior Rosegreen. Rogers was named the top defensive back in the nation.

Chizik picked up a 100-pound bronze statue at ceremonies at the Doubletree hotel sponsored by the Downtown Rotary Club as the ninth winner of the Broyles Award, named after former University of Arkansas head football coach Frank Broyles. Chizik also won a $2,500 prize and a set of golf clubs.

A committee of highly successful former coaches selects the winner.

Last year's winner of the award was also an SEC defensive coordinator--Brian VanGorder, who just announced he is leaving the University of Georgia to coach in the NFL.

The other finalists were Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Chuck Long, Boise State offensive coordinator Chris Peterson, Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker and Connecticut offensive coordinator Norries Wilson.

Chizik gets a hug from safety Junior Rosegreen.

With Chizik's defense playing a major role, Auburn became just the 10th Division I-A team to finish 13-0 or better while allowing 11.3 points per game. A total of 67 of the 147 points Auburn allowed came when the Tigers were leading by 20 points or more.

During the regular season, the Tigers allowed just one rushing touchdown, the lowest number since the 1957 national championship team. His defensive team has not allowed an opponent to rush for 150 yards in the past 17 games and hasn't allowed a running back to rush for 100 yards in a game during that time.

The 2004 Tigers led the SEC in quarterback sacks and red zone defense.

Chizik gets a ride off the field after the Tigers finished the regular season 11-0.

"I'm very flattered to be mentioned with a such a great group of guys nominated for this award," Chizik said. "It's also very special to be have your name attached with an award that bears Coach Broyle's name. This is a great honor. It's a credit to our coaching staff and players for all the hard work they put in this season. The players that played for us are tremendous young men with great character.

"I also want to thank Coach Tuberville for giving me the chance to be part of the Auburn family and such a great university. I'm very flattered to receive this award."

Candidates for the award are nominated by head coaches. The finalists are chosen by an eight-man panel that may be the most prestigious of any awards panel, of coaches that combined to win four national championships, more than 1,300 victories, 59 conference titles, nine national head coach of the year honors and made 112 bowl appearances. The panelists are: Arkansas Athletic Director and former Coach Frank Broyles, former Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler, former Georgia Coach Vince Dooley, former Washington Coach Don James, former Syracuse Coach Dick MacPherson, former Baylor Coach Grant Teaff, former Brigham Young Coach LaVell Edwards and former Iowa Coach Hayden Fry.

Previous Broyles Award winners are: Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews (1996); Michigan defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann (1997); former Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe (1998), who was named the head coach at Ole Miss shortly before receiving the Broyles Award; former Georgia Tech offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen (1999), now coach at Maryland; former Oklahoma offensive coordinator Mark Mangino (2000), now the coach at Kansas; Miami defensive coordinator Randy Shannon (2001); Southern California offensive coordinator Norm Chow (2002) and Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder (2003).

Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville is a finalist for the Bear Bryant Award, which will be presented on Thursday night in Houston, Tex., to the top Division I-A head football coach. Earlier this week, Tuberville was named to the American Football Coaches Association Board of Directors.

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