Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs released the following statement Sunday afternoon in regards to the university's decision to dismiss Gene Chizik as the head football coach:
Dear Auburn Family,
First and foremost, I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have reached out to me in recent days and weeks to express your concerns about our football program. You are the best fans in the country, and I appreciate your passion and love for Auburn University.
We have talked a lot in recent years about building the foundation it takes to consistently compete at a high level in the nation's toughest conference. Despite substantial investment in personnel and facilities made possible by your support, the football program did not live up to our expectations. The results of the 2012 football season are simply unacceptable at Auburn.
After suffering some tough losses in a transition year in 2011, we had hoped our team would show improvement this season. Unfortunately, it has not. The competition in our league is fierce and is currently at an all-time high, and we cannot risk falling further behind by waiting another year and hoping for improvement.
That is why after careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of our football program, I have recommended that Coach Gene Chizik not be retained. President Gogue has accepted my recommendation. Earlier this morning, I informed Coach Chizik that he will not return as head coach.
My primary consideration in making this recommendation was doing what is in the best interests of our current student-athletes and the future of our football program. That has always been my top priority, and it always will be.
While I am disappointed that Coach Chizik's career here has come to an end we will long cherish the memories of our first National Championship in 53 years. Gene and his staff will always be a part of the Auburn Family, and we wish them and their families the best.
This season demonstrated that we need a different direction to get where we want to go. We will move as quickly as possible in our search for a new Head Coach, guided by the benchmarks President Gogue and I expect. Those benchmarks are a track record as a proven winner, a commitment to playing within the rules and student-athlete academic success.
I am pleased to announce that we have put together an outstanding search committee to find our next head coach. The committee consists of several great Auburn leaders who share our commitment to competing at the highest level and who understand what it takes to succeed at Auburn. I am honored that Mac Crawford, Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan have agreed to join our efforts to find the best coach possible for our student-athletes, the students of Auburn University and the Auburn Family. I'm proud to be part of this distinguished group.
A press conference will be held later today to formally announce this change. In the days ahead, you can expect rumors to swirl and inaccurate reports to surface about who is under consideration to be our next Head Coach. That is the nature of coaching searches at this level. I will not respond to rumors or speculative reports during the search process, but I do look forward to announcing our new Head Coach once the search is complete.
I regret that the Auburn Family, and especially our season ticket holders and Tigers Unlimited donors, have had to endure a frustrating and difficult season. You expect and deserve better.
It is time to heal and turn the page to the next chapter of Auburn football. It is time to pull together and forge ahead to the brighter future that awaits us.
We have endured tough times before, and we have always emerged stronger. I have no doubt that will be our course once again.