Auburn hires Malzahn as head coach

From the Associated Press

Auburn has turned to Gus Malzahn to restore a program that made an unprecedented fall two years after winning the national title with Cam Newton operating the then-assistant coach’s high-powered offense to perfection.

Malzahn was the Tigers’ offensive coordinator during their 2010 national championship run before heading to Arkansas State for his first college head coaching position. He received a five-year contract worth $2.3 million annually to try to get the team back on solid footing.

“I recruited a lot of them and have very good relationships,” Malzahn said. “I just told them our expectations are to win championships. Whatever happened last year happened last year. It’s a new day. We’re going to put a good brand of football on the field and we’re going to have fun doing it.”

He led the Red Wolves to a 9-3 record, a Sun Belt Conference title and a berth in the GoDaddy.com Bowl, then parlayed that into a job in the powerhouse Southeastern Conference.

Several hundred fans greeted Malzahn’s plane, and he rushed along the line exchanging high-fives. He promised to get Auburn “back to winning championships.”

“I’m just tickled to death,” he said. “It’s a true honor for me to be the head coach of the Auburn Tigers. I spent three years here and I can honestly say it’s the best three years of my life. I feel connected forever.”

The 47-year-old Malzahn returns with his fast-paced, no-huddle offensive style. He replaces former boss Gene Chizik, who was fired one day after a 49-0 loss to No. 2 Alabama to complete a 3-9 season.

Malzahn hasn’t ruled out coaching in the bowl game for Arkansas State, which said he had a $700,000 buyout.

Athletic director Jay Jacobs declined to say who else he interviewed, but said it didn’t matter.

“The characteristics that he brought to the table were head and shoulders above everybody else,” Jacobs said.

Before his arrival at Auburn in 2009, Malzahn had spent two seasons as Tulsa’s offensive coordinator. He was the offensive coordinator at Arkansas for one year after a successful run in the Arkansas high school ranks.

Auburn had the nation’s 115th-ranked offense last season, averaging 305 yards a game. The Red Wolves were ranked 19th in total yards under Malzahn.

“We will be a fast-paced, attacking-style offense and defense,” Malzahn said. “In this day and age, I believe you have to.”

It’s the second straight time Auburn has turned to one of its coordinators from an unbeaten team. Chizik ran the defense for the 13-0 team in 2004 but was hired by the Tigers despite a 5-19 record in two seasons at Iowa State.

“We are tremendously excited that Gus Malzahn will be our next head football coach,” athletic director Jay Jacobs said. “Coach Malzahn was the clear unanimous choice of our search committee, and I am pleased that Dr. Gogue has accepted our recommendation. This is a great day for Auburn football and Auburn University.”

The search committee was comprised of Jacobs, Auburn Heisman Trophy winners Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson and former Tigers player Mac Crawford.

Auburn owes more than $11 million in buyouts to Chizik and his coaching staff.

The Tigers are hoping Malzahn can return them to success after a winless SEC season.

“Gus Malzahn is a proven winner,” Jacobs said. “He is without question one of the brightest minds in college football and he has won everywhere he has been. Coach Malzahn knows what it takes to build a championship program in the Southeastern Conference. He knows our state and region and he understands what it will take to turn our program around. Coach Malzahn will also be an outstanding ambassador for Auburn University, and that was important to the committee.”

The NCAA has been investigating the recruitment of signee Jovon Robinson, who was ruled ineligible after a guidance counselor admitted to creating a fake transcript.

“I feel very confident that everything is fine, and that’s my understanding,” Malzahn said.

The Tigers badly struggled in a transition to Scot Loeffler’s pro-style last season, starting three quarterbacks.

Auburn was ranked in the top seven in rushing, total and scoring offense in 2010 and Newton won the Heisman Trophy in his lone season out of the junior college ranks. It was the Tigers’ first national title since 1957.

Without Newton, the Tigers slipped to 100th in total offense in 2011 and then dipped even further.

“We will have a fast-paced offense,” Malzahn said. “I believe this day and time it’s a great advantage.”

The hiring reunites Malzahn with the quarterback he recruited out of Arkansas. Kiehl Frazier was benched last season after struggling as the starter. He was USA Today’s national offensive player of the year as a high school senior.

Malzahn had been earning $1.3 million a year for the Tigers after interviewing with Vanderbilt after the national championship season. He took a substantial pay cut to join the head coaching ranks with the Sun Belt Conference team. Malzahn replaced Hugh Freeze, who also left after one season at Arkansas State to take over at Mississippi.

Chizik’s tenure was marred by off-the-field problems, including the arrest of four players from the championship team for armed robbery.

Malzahn also made a couple of decisions with players that didn’t pan out. Tailback Mike Dyer transferred from Auburn — where he was suspended — to Arkansas State. He was then dismissed by Arkansas State in July after a state trooper found marijuana and a gun in a car the national title game MVP was driving.

Jacobs said discipline was a factor in choosing Malzahn.

109 comments Add your comment

JB

December 4th, 2012
4:45 pm

Well well well. doesn’t strike fear. He’ll be Camless

Uncle Tom

December 4th, 2012
4:49 pm

They’ll be great again……………………if they can lure Cam Newton back.

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA

December 4th, 2012
4:50 pm

“Malzahn returns with his fast-paced, no-huddle offensive style that quarterback Cam Newton operated to perfection two seasons ago.”

Chiz left the spread to go with the pro style and went 3-9.

The spread is the only offense that can beat Nick Saban.

SEE: Florida, Auburn, TAM.

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
4:51 pm

WOW didn’t people see this coming?

When is BOBO going to leave UGa and make Richt look like the JOKE Richt is and then come back as the Head Caoch.

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA

December 4th, 2012
4:52 pm

“When is BOBO going to leave UGa and make Richt look like the JOKE Richt is and then come back as the Head Caoch.”

Richt already looks like a joke.

Worst Georgia

December 4th, 2012
4:57 pm

Someone help save UWG Football. 13-37 under Daryl Dickey over five years and the administration just does not care. He is set to return for a 6th season with just a .26 winning percentage. Can’t UWG Administration see this is what happens when you can’t lose?

Paddy

December 4th, 2012
4:59 pm

Thats just about how excited people were when Auburn hired Chizik from Iowa State. So far, Kentucky is in first place with its new hire.

Gay Dawg

December 4th, 2012
5:00 pm

kral

December 4th, 2012
5:01 pm

such a joke ..reread the above blogs..go look in the mirror…ask your self…How many games have I coached in a won ..How many SEC championships have I COACHED in and won,but I’m a blogger and I can called some coach a joke..I guess that makes me a fool..no I am to stupid to recognize my own stupidity

Gay Dawg

December 4th, 2012
5:01 pm

I am not a big fan of the spread. I like the offenses that just ram it down peoples throats.

Paddy

December 4th, 2012
5:02 pm

Worst Georgia….what is a UWG? Have not heard from that room before!

Gene Chizik

December 4th, 2012
5:02 pm

I wish Gus the best. He is at a program that knows undefeated glory and should do well.

Kennesaw State Dawg

December 4th, 2012
5:03 pm

Auburn thinks they are elite cause they won a national title with dirty players and paying Cam. They hadn’t been good before that since the 80s.

1eyedJack

December 4th, 2012
5:11 pm

“Chiz left the spread to go with the pro style and went 3-9.

The spread is the only offense that can beat Nick Saban.

SEE: Florida, Auburn, TAM.”

Georgia’s offense can beat Nick Saban. It scored 28 points on him. Their run defense let ‘em down. And yet their offense still almost pulled it out.

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
5:23 pm

Kennesaw State Dawg
December 4th, 2012
5:03 pm

Auburn thinks they are elite cause they won a national title with dirty players and paying Cam.
=============================
You mean like UGa paying Herschel with a Smokey & the Bandit Trans AM and a scholarship for his sister.

History Teacher

December 4th, 2012
5:25 pm

Kennesaw Dawg: you say Before Cam Newton that Auburn hadn’t been good since the 80s. I guess going undefeated twice (1993 and 2004) doesn’t count. They really should make people pass a minimum IQ tet before they’re allowed to post.

obamataxesagain

December 4th, 2012
5:27 pm

Wonder why there is so many Auburn haters? You don’t seem to have the same haste when you talk about Vandy. All the cheating talk is as always just that talk.

Worst Georgia

December 4th, 2012
5:29 pm

UWG – University of West Georgia
13-37 over five years with Daryl Dickey
26% winning percentage
Only 5 Gulf South Conference wins over 5 seasons
Unlike Auburn or any other normal university,
UWG giving Dickey a 6th season after only winning 3 games in 2012
Makes no sense. Go West!!!!!!!!!

Just Auburn Being Auburn

December 4th, 2012
5:34 pm

Finally get a chance to hire Petrino and blow it. Its hard being an AU fan with a clown like Jay Jacobs as the AD. That guy wouldn’t even be the smartest person in a first grade special ed class.

Sal

December 4th, 2012
5:38 pm

put in timeout puts the arse in class….

CJ

December 4th, 2012
5:46 pm

Finally get a chance to hire Petrino and blow it.

Blow it? Jacobs should have his head examined for even considering Petrino. The last thing Auburn needs is that kind of dysfunction running their football program.

GT

December 4th, 2012
5:53 pm

Amazing how he is the most obvious yet not very mentioned in the guessing game. Good for Auburn not falling for Bobby P. Very curious who the DC will be, wonder if TR would think of coming home, the man can recruit players and there is only so much you can do at Penn State for a few years.

Worst Georgia

December 4th, 2012
6:00 pm

It would be nice to see Roof return to Auburn after getting the raw deal he got last year.

Kennesaw State Dawg

December 4th, 2012
6:00 pm

At least Auburn didnt sell their soul like bama hiring a peice of garbage

Delbert D.

December 4th, 2012
6:01 pm

The Auburn offense recruits might stay.

BobDawg

December 4th, 2012
6:06 pm

Where is AU getting the “Dinero”??? Goodness, $11 Million and counting???? Maybe Saban can give them a Loan… wink, wink…..

Verdawg

December 4th, 2012
6:07 pm

HA! Should have hired “Put In Timeout” since he can obviously run a college football program from his Mama’s basement!

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:07 pm

Kennesaw State dWag,,,,,,,,,,,,selling a SOUL? You mean like UGa with all the players that failed out and got arrested like at UGa? UGa is just like Auburn……..THUGS but they have WATERFORD CRYSTAL.

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:09 pm

vern…dwag and you have a better response?

BobDawg

December 4th, 2012
6:10 pm

PUT IN TIMEOUT…. agree with VERDAWG… Does your Momma know you are on the computer???

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:12 pm

Once again you are looking at the Stafford-Cox year now it is the Murray-Mason year but with Mason. Mason can’t give you 3 or 4 years………………….The BRAIN TRUST at UGa in Richt and BOBO is amazing…….LMMFAO

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:13 pm

bobMUTT……Yes I guess she does from HEAVEN.

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:16 pm

dWag fans name me 5 coaches that could be in the BCS CG with UGa’s talent…………You KNOW Richt and Bobo are not on the list……….I can Name 5 coaches that could be in the BCS CG this year wuth the MUTT THUG Talent right now.

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:17 pm

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:17 pm

hind tit

December 4th, 2012
6:17 pm

If this hire fails then this will bankrupt the program.

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:18 pm

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:18 pm

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:19 pm

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:19 pm

Chucky GRUDEN

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:19 pm

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:20 pm

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:20 pm

Paul Johnson

BobDawg

December 4th, 2012
6:20 pm

Sorry about that PUT… just jesting… In one of your earlier comments, I think Mason starts for us but would not be surprised if Ramsey finishes the season once he learns the system…

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
6:25 pm

BOBDAWG…………Bobo and Richt have messed up the QB rotation. There should have been many time MURRAY was in BIG GAMES as a FROSH….Richt didn’t want to BURN the red shirt but it could hurt him. The same thing happened between Stafford and Cox.

BobDawg

December 4th, 2012
6:35 pm

I think when the Mettenberger mess happened that put Murray in as the #1 without competition.. Mettenberger actually had a better spring game then Aaron did. It would have been interesting that fall. From what I am hearing Mason of course knows the offense but Ramsey has tremendous upside and it will be interesting…

ed "DAWG' haire

December 4th, 2012
6:36 pm

Mark Richt is our coach and according to most college experts is a great coach and I agree! Coach Richt is one of the most respected coaches in the nation and we are proud to have him. We were one tipped pass away from the NCG and people still want him gone. Get a life!

Just Me

December 4th, 2012
7:08 pm

It wouldn’t have mattered if UGA had won andmade it to the NC game som of these morons would still want Richt fired. They aren’t UGA fans just hangers on when they win and fair wather fans when things don’t go so well.

Red Stick

December 4th, 2012
7:15 pm

Malzahn is not exactly a splash hire. Of course time will be the judge of that.

Instead, I would’ve hired Petrino.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Put in Timeout by Ken Sugiura,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned once by Bill King & Chip Towers but only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 4th, 2012
7:43 pm

My life sucks : ( I have none.