Auburn Assistant a Hot Coaching Property

<B>Gene Chizik</b>

Auburn's defensive coordinator is drawing interest as a coaching candidate.

Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Tuberville says he is not surprised that the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars and others are interested in Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik.

Chizik, who just finished his third season as defensive coordinator of the Tigers, was named the winner of the Frank Broyles Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top assistant football coach.

Jacksonville is talking to Chizik and others about a position coaching the secondary for the NFL team. Earlier this week the Jaguars hired Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.

"I have been contacted by a couple of people who want to talk to Gene, which is good," Tuberville says. "It shows that you have good coaches. Gene likes it here, but you can't ever fault anybody who is interested in bettering himself in the profession.

"There won't be anything done until after recruiting in that regard," Auburn's head football coach adds. "He is going to be a hot item, which he should be. He has done a great job."

Gene Chizik coaches the secondary at Auburn in addition to coordinating the defense.

Chizik's group led the nation in total defense for the Tigers, who finished 13-0 this past season. Tuberville says he hopes he won't lose Chizik or any other coaches. "We are going to do everything we can do to keep them all together," he says.

The University of Texas has also contacted Chizik about a position as defensive coordinator. The Longhorns lost co-coordinator Greg Robinson, who was just named head coach at Syracuse. Earlier, Chizik talked to North Carolina State about a position as defensive coordinator, which he turned down. Texas has two open slots on its defensive staff.

Tuberville says all of the assistant coaches on his staff will be getting raises. Chizik is expected to be the highest paid assistant coach on the staff with a total compensation package of approximately $300,000 per year.

Chizik was in Little Rock, Ark., on Tuesday to pick up the Broyles Trophy. "That was a big award for Gene, and a big award for the program," Tuberville said. "It is a compliment and positive reflection on all of the guys on the defensive coaching staff. Having an assistant recognized as the winner of the Broyles Award as the top assistant in the country is very good."

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