Coaches on the Hot Seat: Welcome to Gene Chizik’s Buyout Island


Welcome to Buyout Island, a tropical hideaway where the living is easy, the days are filled with cushy radio and TV analyst appearances, and the drinks are paid for by disgruntled boosters.

This remote spot in the South Pacific is a home to fired college football coaches, where they can relax and enjoy the millions of dollars that they are being paid to do anything but coach college football.

The only trouble in paradise is that the mayor, former Auburn coach Gene Chizik has been lonely ever since Houston Nutt wandered off into the wilderness and is presumed to have been eaten by wild boars.  Fortunately for Gene, the college football season is in full swing, which means that fanbases across the United States are already in full “OMG FIRE EVERYBODY” mode.

The staff at Buyout Island is busy preparing cabanas for a few new residents.  Who are some of Chizik’s likely new neighbors to be?  Let’s examine the early season frontrunners for a change in latitude.

Jul 23, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown poses for a portrait during the Big 12 media days at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Mack Brown

The Texas coach is quickly running out of time, excuses and assistant coaches to jettison after yet another disappointing performance.  After giving up 550 yards rushing to BYU, Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and brought in Greg Robinson, who was simply atrocious in the same position at Michigan.  Brown then went on to explain how it was not the schemes that failed, but the execution, which completely justifies liquidating the coach who implemented said schemes.  Clearly Mack Brown is a aging gentleman descending into the throes of senility, so a relocation to the tropics may be on the horizon.  Fortunately for Brown, Buyout Island is golf cart friendly, so he won’t have to worry about driving his Crown Victoria after dark or on the Interstate.

Mar 5, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans coach Lane Kiffin reacts at spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Lane Kiffin

Like most warm weather locales, the population of Buyout Island skews toward the geriatric, so USC coach Lane Kiffin would provide an injection of youth and exuberance.  Kiffin’s wife would assuredly be quite popular with the male residents even if Lane rubbed them the wrong way within five minutes of the first meeting.  So far this season, Kiffin has escaped with a win at Hawaii and lost to Washington State with an offensive attack that can best be described as flaccid.  Kiffin, the supposed offensive guru, has fielded a squad that has had all the aesthetic appeal of a pasty European tourist wearing black socks and leather sandals on a visit to Disney World.  Football fans from Oakland to Knoxville to Los Angeles would probably like nothing more than to see Lane Kiffin shipped off to a far away island.  Barring an incredible turnaround, the blender will be loaded with liquor and fruit juice, turndown service will be ordered, and the coconuts will continue to ripen on the trees for Kiffin’s impending arrival.

Jan 01, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen before the game against the Northwestern Wildcats in the Gator Bowl at EverBank Field. Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Mullen

While the Mullen era got off to a quick start in Starkville, the pace of progress quickly leveled off.  First came the inability to beat an SEC West opponent other than Ole Miss, then came a 7-0 start to the 2012 season that was quickly and violently brought back to Earth, then there was a trip behind the woodshed in the Egg Bowl.  Mississippi State fans can tolerate a lot, but now that Hugh Freeze has Ole Miss headed upwards, their patience may be wearing quite thin.  In hindsight, this may be a part of Mullen’s grand plan.  After all, who wouldn’t want to leave Starkville, MS for a tropical island?  In fact, who wouldn’t want to just leave Starkville, MS?

Sep 15, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp on the sideline against the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Florida defeated Tennessee 37-20. Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Will Muschamp

Since taking over in Gainesville, Will Muschamp has basically won twice as many games as he’s lost and built one of the nation’s best defenses.  This is the Florida fan base we are talking about though, and they believe that since the dawn of time (which is the year 1990 A.D. in their world), it is their birthright to win the SEC and play for national titles.  The Gator offense has been nothing short of garbage ice cream topped with vomit sauce lately, and the natives are beginning to grow restless.  If Muschamp were to be let go by Florida, he could add a certain spice to the tranquility of island living.  Coach Boom’s style may take some getting used to however, as most island residents are not used to being screamed at for failing to properly knock the opponent’s shuffleboard discs off the court.  Muschamp’s arrival on Buyout Island is quite unlikely though, as his plane would in all likelihood be intercepted by Texas or USC.

Mayor Chizik has the cocktail shaker at the ready and is quietly humming the chorus from Kokomo in preparation to welcome some new residents.  The only questions now are how many bar stools will need readied and if he will have the rest of the season to finish carving the tiki idols.