Dateline: Enterprise, Alabama
Although Auburn was rumored to be vying for several successful coaches, it is true that the number of people they actually spoke to and were turned down by was very small. Most coaches who found themselves in the rumor mill placed frantic calls to their agents, with instructions to call Auburn and make sure their names got OFF the list. Thus Auburn earned the distinction of being the first college needing a football hire who had coaches PROACTIVELY taking steps to turn them down before Auburn could ever contact them.
Finally, in desperation, Auburn representatives showed up at the home of virtually their last hope. They arrived at 1 AM in the morning, having turned off the headlights of the car they arrived in, and turning off the engine to coast the last block to his house. They had previously sent an assistant SID to watch his back door just in case he got wind they were on the way, to prevent any clean escape.
Still, after a heated discussion, they were turned down in person. I got the exclusive interview with their last viable candidate, Bubba Wells, coach of the Dauphin Jr. High School JV team in Enterprise, Alabama.
"No way, man!", Bubba told this reporter. "Sure, they came in throwin' a lot o' loose talk about money around, but I got my self respect to consider! That job has historically led men to become the most hated man in the State of Alabama, except for a few months at a time in years way on back when someone was runnin' against George Wallace!"
Dauphin Jr High School, with a long tradition of sometimes winning the city title against the other Jr High in town, had an off year this fall, finishing at 4-5. The win total, however, had intrigued Auburn athletic officials hungry, nay desperate, for a higher winning percentage than they had managed this year.
Said Wells, "Well, we normally do a might better, last two years we wuz 6-3 and 5-4, but this year we had a undersized squad, but that's the chance you take when you can just play the 7th graders. You know, there's no consistency. Two years ago there 'uz four fat boys we got onto the team. Now they won't sell tater chips or regular sodas in the school anymore, and the fat boys are gettin' harder to come by."
Wells, who teaches four classes of civics and one hour of gym each day, previously coached a Pop Warner League team when his kids were younger.
"My daughter was the best quarterback they ever had on that team", he recalled. But that's ancient history. She's a senior at the High School this year. Of course she can't play football for Enterprise High, she plays softball. Auburn did recruit her for football for next year, them needin' quarterbacks and all, but that girl, she's got her own head. Say's she don't want to play for no sissy school."
Auburn officials declined to comment on the record, but an unnamed source (since he's about to be replaced anyway, we'll name him, it was their locker room janitor/offensive coordinator), confirmed that the Auburn AD was "creamin' to get the Wells hire done".
"He was sure disappointed that Coach Bubba said no, and then no again, and finally Hell No would you PLEASE get the HELL outta my house before I set the dogs on you!"
With every other name crossed off their wish list, Auburn finally was reduced to approaching Chizik. Said our source:
"You know, they were pretty sensitive about going with the funny name thing twicet in a row. Auburn has always had to endure enough farm jokes without their coach havin' to be named TUBER-ville, for gawd's sake. They figure at least this time, even tho the name reads funny, no one anywhere will ever be able to figure out how to pronouce it, so after they pondered on that a while it actually got to growin' on them and they just had to have him come here. You know, they went thru so many years where you could never tell the team when they was behind at halftime to "Never say Dye", and then they had the TUBER-ville jokes to deal with, they kind o' liked the idea of having a coach who's name is so far out there that they don't have no unfortunate coincidences to deal with."
Chizik, who after taking over a mediocre program in the woefully weak (not so) big 12 and running it straight into the ground, was reportedly considering retiring from football coaching to take a job grading dirt roads. According to friends, the Auburn offer set him into a stupor, it was such a shock.
"His wife had to slap him six times and pour half a bottle of corn liquor down his throat to get him to come around", a neighbor reported.
Remember folks, you heard it here first!!