Auburn's Chizik named 2010 Liberty Mutual Coach of Year

Auburn's Chizik named 2010 Liberty Mutual Coach of Year

Tigers Coach Earns $70,000 for Charities and Scholarship; Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award Winners Now Surpass $1.2 Million Donated for Charity Since 2006

PHOENIX (January 10, 2011) - After a season marked by the success of the Tigers on the field, achievements by his student-athletes in the classroom, and tireless dedication to his communities and charities, Auburn University Head Football Coach Gene Chizik today received the ultimate reward for his inspirational efforts both on and off the field.

Liberty Mutual Insurance announced Coach Chizik as its 2010 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award winner for the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award is the leading college football honor recognizing coaches for their sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence, on and off field.

Coach Chizik rose above a group of 10 FBS coach finalists through fan votes cast December 13-28 at and ballots from elite selection committees of national media and College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches. Fans votes contributed 20 percent to each coach’s final score, and the media and College Football Hall of Fame accounted for 25 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

“Coach Chizik embodies the spirit of the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award through his dedication to his students, team and community, and fans should be proud of the significant impact they made through their votes and support for their teams, alma maters and coaches," said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president, Consumer Marketing.

“As a company that values ‘doing the right thing’ as its core responsibility, we introduced the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award in 2006 to celebrate responsibility in coaching because we believe it is one of the clearest examples of a positive influence one can have on young people, their families and their communities. Liberty Mutual is delighted to celebrate Gene Chizik with our award.”

Auburn’s return to national prominence began in December 2008, when it hired Gene Chizik shortly after completing a 5-7 campaign. Over the next two years, Chizik’s teams have amassed a 21-5 record (the school’s all-time second-best record for a coach after 26 games), won the Outback Bowl last January, won the school’s seventh Southeastern Conference title this year, and is riding a 14-game winning streak heading into this evening’s BCS Championship Game against Oregon.

Preaching team discipline and a never-say-quit attitude, Chizik’s Tigers had fewer penalties on average than the rest of the SEC, and were masters at pulling out close games with six wins this year by single digits. Under his guidance, players on both sides of the ball have achieved national awards this season: quarterback Cam Newton (Heisman, Walter Camp and Davey O’Brien awards) and defensive lineman Nick Fairley (Lombardi Award), both of whom also were among four Tigers to earn All-American honors this year.

Coach Chizik and his staff emphasize classroom achievement as well, evidenced by 19 Tigers named to the 2009 SEC Academic Honor Roll. In addition, center Ryan Pugh was named to the 2010 ESPN/CoSIDA academic all-district first team and the first team for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for notable achievements in community, classroom, character and competition.

Off the field, Coach Chizik is an active supporter of the Boys and Girls Clubs wherever he has coached; works with aTeam Ministries, a non-profit organization providing emotional, spiritual and financial support to families with children fighting cancer; and a regular visitor to patients at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.

Coach Chizik will be honored in the permanent Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year display at the College Football Hall of Fame. In addition, Liberty Mutual will make a $50,000 charitable donation on his behalf, which Coach Chizik has designated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County and to aTeam Ministries. A $20,000 scholarship award also will be presented in his name to the Auburn University. With this year’s award, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year winners have now donated more than $1.2 million since the award’s inception in 2006.