Pelton's Return is Personal

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -  Finding Tracy Rocker's replacement at Auburn was easy. Coach Gene Chizik made one phone call.

"Coach Chizik, when he called me I kind of figured he wanted me to come interview," said Defensive Line Coach Mike Pelton.  "So I'm like oh good, I got all my interview stuff ready and he basically offered me the job."

Mike Pelton played defensive tackle at Auburn from 1991-1994. He earned All-SEC honors, was co-captain his senior season and helped lead the Tigers to 20-consecutive wins from 1993 to 1994. Pelton then played for the Kansas City Chiefs starting in 1995.

Pelton is no stranger to the coaching side. He was the defensive line coach under Chizik at Iowa State from 2007-2008.  Before that he was Rocker's replacement at Troy, and coached  NFL stars Demarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora.

"It's a tough act to follow, but Tracy's a real good friend of mine and when I actually started out coaching I was a G-A under coach Rocker, so a lot of the things he's taught, a lot of the values he's instilled it came from Auburn.  And we kind of have the same philosophies on how we go about things."

Having those same philosophies means Pelton fits right in.

"You know Tracy did a great job, with Mike it's been a seamless transition," said Defensive Coordinator Ted Roof.  "He's an Auburn man he's got a lot of pride in Auburn and has done a great job jumping into the fire and going."

For coach Pelton coaching at Auburn is more than following in the footsteps of his mentor, it's about coming home.

"It was a natural high just to be back at Auburn, and every day is like that," Pelton said. "I told them in the team meeting, this is personal to me. It's not just a coach coming back, it's a guy coming home, and coming back to where I become a man. So if anybody takes it more personally more than me, than I'd like to see it, because this is not just Auburn, this is my home. This is where I grew up, this is where I played, this is where I became a man; this is where I developed friends; this is my home. So if you're going to protect a place you've got to protect your house and this is the house that I helped build, so it's personal."