Head football coach
In just two seasons at Auburn, head coach Gene Chizik has won a BCS National Championship, an SEC Championship, earned Home Depot and Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year honors and AP SEC Coach of the year accolades. Chizik guided Auburn to a 14-0 record, the BCS National Championship, the program's first title since 1957 and an SEC title during the 2010 season. He owns the second-best mark after 27 games coached in Auburn history with his 22-5 start and currently owns a 15-game winning streak. In July, Chizik released his first book, "All In: What it Takes to Be the Best." All proceeds from the book go to The Chizik Family You Turn Foundation, Inc., which assists children and youth in the Auburn community.
1. What can you tell us about your book, "All In: What it Takes to Be the Best"?
"All in" is a book about football, family and faith. It chronicles the story of my head coaching career and how family and faith have played a pivotal role in my journey. The book also provides a lot of insight and some never-before-told stories about our championship season a year ago. I think it's a book that all Auburn fans would enjoy!
2. You often speak openly about the role of faith and family in your life. What influenced that?
I was raised in a home by two parents who valued faith and family above everything else. My mom and dad taught me that nothing is more important than those two aspects of my life. If those two areas are taken care of, everything else will fall into place. I've said this before; my job as a football coach is extremely important to me, and I love the career the Lord has blessed me with, but it's not who I am; it doesn't define me. Coaching football is what I do. My faith and my family is who I am; those two entities are what define me.
3. If you weren't coaching, what would be your chosen career?
I'd be a teacher. I received my college degree in education, and the teaching aspect of coaching is one of the main reasons I love it so much. Coaching is teaching, just on a football field instead of a classroom. Teachers educate, mold and shape the lives of younger generations, hoping to later send them out into the world much better people than they were when they came. Coaching is very similar. The subject, as well as the manner in which the two are carried out may be different, but the ultimate goal is in many ways the same – positively affecting and bettering the lives of the kids in our care for that short period of time.
4. How would you spend your ideal day off?
Time off is rare for me, so when I do have it, I prefer to spend it with my wife and kids. It really doesn't matter what we do. The five of us have a lot of fun together whether we're at the beach, or just at home having game night. I have a family of very creative minds and outside-the-box thinkers, not to mention the fact that they each think they are much funnier than the other, so there is really never a dull moment when we are all together. We have pretty much mastered the art of making just about anything a fun experience.
5. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the Tigers this year and how do you plan to overcome it?
We have a lot of new faces on our team, with over half our roster consisting of redshirt freshmen and true freshmen. We will have 16 new starters, which will certainly present some challenges, but we treat no season any differently than another. We prepare each year with the same goal and that is to win championships.
Photos contributed by Todd Van Emst, Auburn Athletics