Friday on ESPN 106.7’s The Lunch Break, Coach Gene Chizik sat down with Painter Sharpless and Chuck Furlow. They discussed a number of topics before landing on a subject that hits close to home for the championship-winning coach. His son, Cally, committed to Furman recently. Naturally, he was excited for his son.
Coach Chizik said, “Well, I’m really proud of him. He committed to Furman. Just really, really proud. Furman’s a great academic institution. History of football there. Tradition is extremely strong. He had several opportunities. He visited there. He’s visited there three times now. He went to camp, took an unofficial and went and watched a game then we took an official visit a few weeks ago.”
Both Chiziks have been immersed in high-level football. The elder Chizik as a renowned defensive coordinator at Auburn before he helped lead the Texas Longhorns to the 2005 national title as co-coordinator. Upon his return as head coach on the Plains, he brought a national title to Auburn for the first time in more than fifty years.
The younger Chizik experienced that success from the sideline while growing up. Flash forward, he was a critical component to Auburn High’s 2018 success and return trip to the playoffs.
When asked why he chose Furman over offers from other programs Chizik said, “I chose Furman because of the home feeling I get when I go up there. Everything from the coaches, the team, to my recruiting class and even the location.”
It’s evident academics as well as comfort among his teammates and coaches were invaluable characteristics to Chizik. He elaborated on this when he said, “It’s always been important to me that people want me and wanna be around me for the right reasons. I get that feeling 100 percent from Furman. Academics are also a big part of it. At a certain point I compared what my degree would mean coming out of Furman compared to other schools… I didn’t see a fair comparison.”
Chizik’s father on The Lunch Break went on to give praise to Furman’s program and said, “Clay Hendrix, the head coach, has done an excellent job. Former Furman player. He’s really turned it around. They shared the Southern Conference championship this year. It’s just great football, great education, great football, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Really proud of him. I think he approached the recruiting as a mature guy and didn’t get too high or too low in any of the offers that he got. I think he’s going to be playing at a level where he can contribute and have a great career. At least I hope so. He’s happy, mom’s happy and dad’s happy.”
Below you can hear Chizik discuss why he believes Furman is a great school and a good fit for the Auburn High standout.
The full conversation with Coach Chizik is also available below.