AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn head coach Gene Chizik’s mother passed away early Monday morning, school spokesman Kirk Sampson confirmed today.
Rita Chizik, 86, lived in Clearwater, Fla. since 1968. She and her late husband, Gene Chizik Sr., had three daughters along with their only son, Gene.
“The Chiziks appreciate the prayers and support that have been sent from the Auburn family,” Sampson wrote in a statement. “We ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.
Chizik’s father, Gene Chizik Sr., died of pulmonary fibrosis in May 2002. He was a World War II veteran in the Marine Corps, and spent nearly 40 years in the school system as a teacher, principal and football coach.
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs tweeted Monday morning: "My thoughts and prayers are with Coach Chizik and family in the death of his mother, Rita. Thanks to AU Family for lifting up the Chiziks."
The off-field mournings are piling up the past couple of months, all while the Tigers have fallen to 1-6 on the football field. Senior tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen's grandmother passed away recently, and junior fullback Jay Prosch's mother succumbed Sept. 3 to a long battle with brain cancer.
Later on Monday, the SEC announced Auburn's Homecoming game against New Mexico State (1-6) will kick off at 11:30 a.m. CT on Sat. Nov. 3, televised by CSS. That will be the Tigers' sixth morning kickoff in their first nine games of 2012.