Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Tuberville has hired University of Central Florida defensive coordinator Gene Chizik to coordinate the Auburn defense and coach the secondary.
Chizik will start work in Auburn on Friday and immediately begin preparations for spring football practice, which starts on March 1st.
"I have a lot of respect for the guy," Tuberville told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I like the way he coaches on defense and we believe in the same things. We are definitely on the same page. I like the job he has done at Central Florida.
"He is a good fit for us because I wanted the defensive coordinator we hired to be a secondary coach, too, and he is outstanding that area," Tuberville adds. "I am really pleased that he is coming to Auburn and he is looking forward to getting started with us."
Chizik coached four years at Central Florida and before that he spent six seasons at the Stephen F. Austin in Texas. He coached linebackers there in 1992 and 1993 and then moved over to the secondary. He was promoted to defensive coordinator at SFA in 1996 and handled that job for two years before taking the job at Central Florida in Orlando. UCF was known for its offensive teams prior to his arrival, however, its defensive teams had been the weak link. That has changed in recent seasons with defense being a strength under Chizik's guidance. The year before he arrived, UCF was 81st in total defense. This past season they were 16th.
He served as defensive ends coach at Middle Tennessee State University in 1990-91 after working as a graduate assistant coach at Clemson University and the University of Tennessee where he coached the outside linebackers. He earned his master's degree in counseling from Clemson.
Chizik and wife Jonna are parents of identical twin girls, Landry Grace and Kennedy Danielle, and a son named Cally.
"Spring training starts three weeks from Friday so we don't have any time to lose getting our defense ready," Tuberville says. "Our coaching staff is going to be very busy this month."
Chizik replaces John Lovett, who left the program after the Peach Bowl loss to North Carolina. Auburn also has a new offensive coordinator, Bobby Petrino, who took over for Noel Mazzone, who left the same day that Lovett did. Lovett is now defensive coordinator at Clemson.
"I want to thank Coach Tuberville for giving me the opportunity to coach at Auburn," Chizik says. "I am looking forward to getting started and working with the staff and players. Our goal will be to field an attacking, aggressive, physical defensive team that will help Auburn be successful each and every week."