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November 27, 2006

Iowa State has its man

Texas co-defensive coordinator Gene Chizik will be the next head football coach at Iowa State, according to Des Moines television station WOI.

A plane owned by the company of former NFL quarterback Troy Aikman is en route to Ames from Austin, Tex., this morning with Chizik on board. It's scheduled to touch down at the Ames airport just before 11 a.m.

Chizik was included on early candidate lists here at CycloneReport.com but dropped off for a lack of any information coming out about him. As I reported some two weeks ago, Chizik is known for being very tight-lipped when it comes to being involved in job searches. That quality would have immediately endeared him to the confidentiality-obsessed Jamie Pollard, Iowa State's athletic director.

Pollard also would have been attracted to Chizik's resume, which included success as a defensive coordinator at Auburn and Central Florida before he joined the Longhorns in 2005. He was at Auburn from 2002 to 2004 and won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach in his final season there. He was the defensive coordinator at UCF for four seasons and also previously coached at Clemson (as a graduate assistant), Middle Tennessee State and Stephen F. Austin. He was also a high school assistant coach in Florida right out of college.

Iowa State has conducted at least two sessions of meetings and interviews in Dallas, which would have accommodated Chizik well and allowed him to travel in and out by car with more anonymity. The most recent Dallas session was a day-long marathon on Saturday with Central Michigan head coach Brian Kelly being the only known coaching participant. It would make sense that additional candidates were interviewed, likely including Chizik.

Sunday night, numerous print, broadcast and on-line media outlets reported that Kelly would be announced as ISU's new head coach. But he told his CMU players at a Sunday afternoon practice that it was business as usual this week, although it's far from a usual week in Mount Pleasant, Mich., with CMU preparing to play Ohio in Thursday's MAC championship game. Kelly is slated to take part in a teleconference this morning and CMU has a practice scheduled for this afternoon, according to published reports.



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