Gene Chizik has been dismissed from his position as head coach of the Auburn University football team.
FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle learned of Chizik's dismissal around 1 p.m. Sunday from a source close to Chizik. Auburn University Athletic Director Jay Jacobs confirmed the news a short time later.
"The results of the 2012 football season are simply unacceptable at Auburn," Jacobs said. "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."
Jacobs said he informed Chizik of the decision Sunday morning. Chizik released a statement Sunday afternoon saying he understood the reason for the decision.
"I'm extremely disappointed with the way this season turned out and I apologize to the Auburn family and our team for what they have had to endure," Chizik said. "In my 27 years of coaching, I have gained an understanding of the high expectations in this profession. When expectations are not met, I understand changes must be made."
A news conference will be held at 3:30 at Auburn University. It will be streamed LIVE on FoxAlabamaLive.com and on the WBRC News mobile smartphone app.
The football team was informed of the decision at 1 p.m. during a team meeting. After the team meeting, Phillip Lutzenkirchen spoke to the media. He said players gave Chizik a standing ovation and were "disappointed to see him go."
Jacobs said a search committee will immediately begin to search for a replacement. Jacobs said Mac Crawford, Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan will head up the search committee.
"This season demonstrated that we need a different direction to get where we want to go," Jacobs said. "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."
University President Dr. Jay Gogue added, "I sincerely appreciate Coach Chizik and his staff for their commitment, hard work and leadership. Athletics Director Jay Jacobs is now devoting his time and energy to search for a new coach who will lead Auburn football to excellence. I look forward to receiving a recommendation from his committee."
Dismissing Chizik and his staff will not be cheap for Auburn. The total buyout for Coach Gene Chizik and his nine full-time assistants is $11.09 million.
Chizik's dismissal comes after weeks of speculation over Chizik's future as the head coach. The Tigers went 3-9 and winless in the SEC this season, a huge disappointment over their 2010 undefeated season just two years ago.
Chizik was hired by Auburn in late 2008 to replace outgoing coach Tommy Tubberville. The team went 8-5 in Chizik's first year with a 3-5 record within the SEC. In his second year, the team went undefeated on the shoulders of superstar quarterback Cam Newton and a slew of highly talented players. 2011 went by with another 8-5 season and breaking even at 4-4 in the SEC.
Recently, the it was revealed that the NCAA had begun another investigation into Auburn's recruiting practices. During Auburn's National Championship season, the NCAA had looked into allegations that Newton had received payment to come to the university. Eventually, the NCAA found Newton eligible to play.
Chizik's last game as the head coach at Auburn was in the Iron Bowl against bigtime rival Alabama. The Tigers lost the game in a painful shutout of 49-0.
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