Gene Chizik, the college football coach who led Auburn University to a national championship title, is back in the headlines but this time it has nothing to do with football.
Chizik is the man behind this prom season’s most epic photobomb, the one that went viral after Chizik was caught giving his daughter’s prom date a disapproving glare.
The good news for Jerod Dickey, the 17-year-old senior who took Chizik’s daughter, Landry, a high school sophomore, to the Auburn High School prom Saturday, is that the glare is just a joke.
“What made the picture so funny is that it’s Landry’s first time at prom and everyone in this town knows Gene,” said Jeri Dickey, Jerod’s mother, who posted the photo on Twitter.
“Jerod said, ‘Mom, he [Chizik] was the first one to say, ‘You look good. You look so sharp,’ when I walked in their house,’” Dickey said.
Jerod and Landry were having their pre-prom photos taken at the Chizik’s home in Auburn on Saturday when Gene Chizik accidentally got in the background of one of the photos, according to Dickey.
Chizik’s wife, Jonna, joked with her husband to “stop photobombing” their daughter, according to Dickey. That’s when Chizik told his wife to take another photo, this one with his posed glare.
“She came running up to me with the phone and said, “You have to see this picture. It’s so funny,’” Dickey said of Jonna Chizik. “I said, ‘Do I have permission to post this?,’ and she said, ‘Oh yeah.’”
Dickey tweeted the photo of her son and Landry, who have been dating for a few months, to Phil Lutzenkirchen, a former Auburn football player who played on Chizik’s national championship team.
— Jeri Dickey (@JeriDickey) April 6, 2014
“We had no idea it would go crazy,” Dickey said of the Internet’s response. “We just thought it was funny.”
Dickey said she went back to the Chizik’s home the next day a little wary of the coach’s reaction to her tweet making him a viral star.
“He thought it was hilarious,” Dickey said.
Dickey’s son, a baseball player who suffers from cystic fibrosis, is also getting a kick out of all the attention his senior prom photo is receiving.
“He wants to be on ‘The Ellen Show,’” Dickey said. “He’s loving this attention. Auburn is such a small town. We went to the pharmacy and lunch yesterday and everyone knew who he was.”