Gene Chizik Fired By Auburn -- A Lesson for UCLA

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

Sometimes it's best to pull the trigger and make a coaching change, even if that coach has had prior success.

A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown. I wrote about it here on Bruins Nation. The point I made is that swift action is best when a coaching change is required.

Now, Auburn University has made a change, firing football head coach Gene Chizik. What is the lesson for UCLA?

It's this:

Gene Chizik led Auburn to the national title just two seasons ago. They went unbeaten, 14-0. This year, they lost all eight SEC games they played and they fired their coach.

No doubt there were things going on that I/we don't know about. There always are.

But -- and this is the key -- Auburn did not say to themselves, "That national title buys Chizik some time. We owe it to him to let him keep coaching because he won a national title. He's earned himself more years based on that accomplishment." No, they felt his performance was subpar this season, decided he wasn't going to turn things around and they made their move.

Funny thing is, UCLA has a basketball coach who seemingly keeps his job because four seasons ago, he went to his third straight Final Four. Granted, he didn't win a national title -- but he went to three straight Final Fours. Since then? He's made the tournament twice (losing in the second round twice) and failed to make the tournament at all twice. He also notched his second losing season at UCLA (something his predecessor only did once). Topping it all off, the roster has been a joke, with botched recruiting decisions, multiple player transfers and the exodus of the better talent the second they think they might get drafted by the NBA (notable exception: Darren Collison).

I feel the lesson is clear here: When a coach's program is failing to improve and players seem to want to get away from it as soon as possible, it might be time to make a change and having done well four or five or six years ago does not give a coach tenure to stay as long as he'd like.

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