BARKLEY RIPS HIS ALMA MATER FOR HIRING CHIZIK

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Former NBA star and current TV commentator Charles Barkley is ripping his alma mater, Auburn, for hiring Gene Chizik.Specifically, Barkley thinks the hiring of Chizik — coming off a 2-10 season at Iowa State — demonstrates that Auburn would rather hire a less qualified white coach than a more qualified black coach.”I think race was the No. 1 factor,” Barkley told ESPN.com. “You can say it’s not about race, but you can’t compare the two resumes and say [Chizik] deserved the job. Out of all the coaches they interviewed, Chizik probably had the worst resume.”Barkley said he wishes his alma mater would have hired Turner Gill, the African-American coach of Buffalo who has revived that school’s program and won the MAC this year.”I’m just very disappointed,” Barkley said. “I just thought Turner Gill would be the perfect choice for two reasons: He’s a terrific coach and we needed to make a splash. I thought we had to do something spectacular to bring attention to the program. Clearly, if we’d hired a black coach, it would have created a buzz.”