Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Giving it the time to be done

Came across a good article about a month ago about second-year Iowa State football coach Gene Chizik, whose team began the season at 2-0 before losing 10 straight.

ISU won three games last season under Coach Chizik, a former defensive coordinator at UCF, Auburn, and Texas.

But, according to this story, ISU's president and AD "are both patient and understanding of the magnitude of his task."

"We know there are no quick fixes,'' [AD Jamie] Pollard said, adding that when he hired Coach Chizik, "he was looking for more than a coach. He wanted a leader."

Coach Chizik's father, Gene C. Chizik Sr., is a former Marine and high school coach/principal.

Mr. Chizik "was among the few to survive the fierce battle of Sugar Loaf Hill on Okinawa in 1945. The Marines took heavy casualties in the fight but captured the pivotal target. The elder Chizik... never talked to his son about what happened on Okinawa, the friends who fell and the medals he received."

The father did impart his values and his toughness to his son. Because of his father, Gene Chizik is who he is: a smart and unflinching leader who inspires loyalties and has the fortitude to finish what he has started.

"Losing as much as we're losing is not easy,'' Chizik said. "My dad was a very tough but fair man who went through a lot of tough times himself. I often think of what he'd say now. He'd say to carry on and conduct yourself the right way. That's what we're trying to do every day.''

Coach Chizik is tough, but he also understands the need for balance. One Sunday afternoon earlier this season, to help take off some of the pressure off his young team and have some fun, he brought his players together to play dodgeball.

ISU, like Mizzou, is determined to stick with their coach and show "what can happen if an administration stands up to outside pressure. [Mizzou Coach Gary] Pinkel went 9-14 in his first two seasons with Missouri, but athletics director Mike Alden stayed with him."

"There's some method to the madness,'' Chizik said. "People get impatient at times, and understandably so. You've got give it the time to be done, and you have to go with what you believe in. Patience will run out eventually. I don't think patience is forever.''