ISU could benefit from Chizik exit

December 14, 2008

Gene Chizik left Iowa State for Auburn with a navy-and-orange “Good-bye” stretched across the 50-yard-line  at Jack Trice Stadium.

It’s strange to think about today but this divorce, which feels more like an annulment, might be best for both parties — if Iowa State hires Turner Gill.

Chizik never seemed at home in Ames. I think most media thought he would make a good coach, although some of his game-day decisions were a bit baffling. It does seem a bit hypocritical for coaches like Chizik to preach to players about about finishing and commitment, and blasting former player Philip Bates for “quitting” yet when the first private jet down south has your one-way ticket, they don’t give it a second thought. But it’s not surprising, either.

That’s why ISU officials, alumni and fans need to realize this move presents them with a great opportunity. Gill has every intangible Iowa State needs right now. He’s got regional roots after a stellar playing career at Nebraska. He obviously can coach and recruit by taking Buffalo to the MAC title. Iowa State can even stick it to Auburn by hiring the coach most Tiger fans wanted, as evidenced by this column:

Hiring Gill would gain national headlines for a football program considered almost irrelevant among BCS schools. That’s what happens with three consecutive losing seasons and a 10-game losing streak.  Hiring Gill would generate positive publicity for a program desperately needing it. It might also help keep Chizik’s recruits and talented young players in Ames.

Who knows, maybe Auburn and Iowa State could meet next year in the Independence Bowl to prove which school got the best coach.