Gene Chizik was a college football head coach for only 76 games. Though he did win one national championship, the 55-year-old Florida native has a mostly pedestrian coaching résumé that includes seven assistant stops and two head coaching stints, one of which yielded just five wins in two seasons.
Yet, Gene Chizik is a man the entire sports world can love and appreciate.
Routinely lost amongst the lucrative broadcasting deals, lavish facilities, worldwide fame and excitement of victory in sports are the people with real feelings, emotions and families. Gene Chizik is a real person who gave up the on-field excitement for at-home excitement.
Three months ago, Chizik resigned from his job as the North Carolina defensive coordinator to spend more time with his family.
"At every stop in my coaching career, I have emphasized to my players that family must come first; that family comes before football," Chizik said in a letter in February. "Simply put, it is time for me to walk the walk."
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He not only gave up a coordinator post at a Power Five program — a position he excelled in, transforming the Tar Heels' unit from 119th nationally in scoring in 2014 to 35th in 2015 and 46th in 2016 — but also a chance to become a head coach again after being fired from Auburn in 2012.
"My son is a sophomore in high school, and I’d seen two of his baseball and two of his football games in the previous two years," he told Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel. "It was time for me to hang it up and go be a family man, a husband and a father.”
Though many college football fans were undoubtedly sad to see Chizik leave and return to his family in Auburn, Ala., it's impossible not to tip your hat to a man chasing another sort of dream.
In Bianchi's article, Chizik also discusses having no regrets on his family life and how coaching football is a 24/7 job that never slows down. Click here to read the full article.