New York (Al.com) - Athletics Jay Jacobs said Friday he'll try to do whatever it takes to keep offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn at Auburn amid reports that the coach is a candidate for the vacant head coaching position at Vanderbilt.
"No doubt about it, no doubt about it, no doubt it. That's what we're going to do,'' Jacobs said in New York where Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is expected to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night.
Those familiar with the process said Malzahn is in line for a raise from his current $500,000 annual salary. The Tigers may make him among the highest-paid assistant coaches in the country.
Malzahn, who has led Auburn's offense to its best season in school history, has been linked to several jobs.
"It gets to the point when you have an opportunity to become a head coach at a BCS college, it's a tough thing not to do sometimes,'' Jacobs said. "We'll certainly do what we feel like is right, and certainly for what Gus has done for this program."
Jacobs said Auburn conducted mock job interviews for its assistant coaches last summer to prepare them to move up to head coaching positions. Jacobs said Auburn would be "very happy" if assistants interviewed for head coaching jobs. But, on Malzahn, Jacobs said, "if it's not the right fit for him at this time, we'll do what we can to keep him at Auburn. We want to do what's right."
Jacobs said he's not aware if a school has asked permission to speak to Malzahn.
"Generally the way that works is they talk to the head coach about assistant coaches,'' Jacobs said.