Auburn names Gus Malzahn as head coach; - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Auburn names Gus Malzahn as head coach; Malzahn will coach ASU in bowl game

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT & AP) - Auburn University has officially announced that Gus Malzhan will be the next head football coach for the Tigers. 

Malzhan is set to appear at a team press conference at 8pm at the Athletics Complex Rane Room at Auburn. 

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to become the head football coach at Auburn University. It's an outstanding institution with a storied football program that I had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand for three years," Malzahn said. "I deeply appreciate the confidence that Dr. Gogue, Jay Jacobs and the search committee had in my ability to turn this program around and to bring Auburn back to national prominence. This is a homecoming for me and I look forward to being reunited with the Auburn family."

"We are tremendously excited that Gus Malzahn will be our next head football coach," Director of Athletics 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."

Jacobs said the committee was impressed by Malzahn's outstanding track record as a coach at every level he has coached.

"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."

Malzahn lead the Red Wolves to a 9 - 3 record in his one year at Arkansas State.  He was formerly the offensive coordinator at Auburn from 2008 - 2011.  

According to ASU, Malzahn will coach the team in the January 6th GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, AL.

Several Red Wolves players have taken to Twitter to express their thoughts on Malzhan leaving for Auburn:

Amos Draper- ain't no loyalty when it comes to money. Also said that first game next year.

Anthony Kincy- did y'all forget that ASU is scheduled to play Auburn this upcoming season?

RJ Fleming- We going to Auburn and taking that W! Earl Lucas- Every year since freshman year ASU has had a different head coach.

Dr. Tim Hudson, chancellor of Arkansas State University, and Terry Mohajir, director of athletics, issued the following statement today regarding the football program:

"Coach Gus Malzahn informed us this afternoon that he would be accepting the head coaching position at Auburn University," ASU Chancellor Dr. Tim Hudson said. "We appreciate his contributions to our conference championship season and wish him well."

Hudson said he, Athletics Director Terry Mohajir and ASU System President Dr. Charles L. Welch will begin an immediate search for Malzahn's successor.

"The back-to-back championships in the Sun Belt Conference make this a very attractive position, and we're confident we'll have a lot of interest," Mohajir said. "This administration, this community and the entire Arkansas State family have demonstrated our commitment to have a nationally prominent intercollegiate athletics program and will continue to do so."

Mohajir said he and Malzahn would be meeting to discuss the transition, "keeping the interests of our student-athletes foremost in mind." The plan at this time, Mohajir said, is for Malzahn and his staff to coach the Red Wolves in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6 against Kent State in Mobile, Ala.

"We remain firmly committed to our facilities upgrade plans," Welch said. "We owe this to our student-athletes and fans, and we remain excited about the opportunities ahead for the Red Wolves."


Chizik was fired last month after the Tigers finished with a 3-9 record two years after winning the national championship. 

Malzan, who came to Auburn in 2009, was the offensive coordinator during Auburn's 14-0 run to the national championship in 2010.

The Tigers set multiple school offensive records and QB Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy.

Malzahn left AU in December 2011 to become head coach at Arkansas State, where he directed the Red Wolves to the 2012 Sun Belt Conference championship and a berth in GoDaddy.com Bowl.

Malzahn previously served as offensive coordinator for Houston Nutt at Arkansas, joining the Razorbacks staff in 2006.

That first season he produced one of the nation's most prolific offenses and helped Arkansas to the SEC Championship Game.

He left Arkansas for Tulsa in 2007, where his offense was first in the NCAA for two seasons before he came to Auburn to join Chizik's first staff.

He was a successful high school coach in his home state of Arkansas before entering the college coaching ranks.

Region 8 News is working to gather more information on this breaking sports story.  We will have the latest on Region 8 News at Five and Six as well as on www.kait8.com.


Below is the full announcement released by Auburn University:

AUBURN—Gus Malzahn, who served as Auburn's offensive coordinator from 2009-11, has been named the program's head football coach, Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs announced Tuesday. Malzahn, who won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach in 2010 while helping the Tigers to the BCS National Championship, spent the past season as the head coach at Arkansas State, where he led the program to the Sun Belt Conference title.

Known for his innovative offensive style, Malzahn has made a profound impact during each of his coaching stops at the collegiate level at Arkansas State, Auburn, Tulsa and Arkansas.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to become the head football coach at Auburn University. It's an outstanding institution with a storied football program that I had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand for three years," Malzahn said. "I deeply appreciate the confidence that Dr. Gogue, Jay Jacobs and the search committee had in my ability to turn this program around and to bring Auburn back to national prominence. This is a homecoming for me and I look forward to being reunited with the Auburn family."

This season at Arkansas State, Malzahn led the Red Wolves to a 9-3 record and 7-1 conference mark, including a current seven-game winning streak. They defeated Middle Tennessee, 45-0, on Dec. 1 to claim the Sun Belt championship and a berth in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6.

"It's a pleasure to welcome Gus back to Auburn, this time as our head football coach," Auburn University President Jay Gogue said. "We owe the search committee our gratitude for their time, expertise and dedication to Auburn. They are each distinguished graduates of this great institution and I'm grateful for their ongoing commitment. I appreciate them working so closely with Jay Jacobs as a team—a very good team."

A native of Fort Smith, Ark., Malzahn becomes the 26th head football coach in the program's history.

"We are tremendously excited that Gus Malzahn will be our next head football coach," Director of Athletics 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."

Jacobs said the committee was impressed by Malzahn's outstanding track record as a coach at every level he has coached.

"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."

Jacobs thanked the search committee of former letter winner Mac Crawford and Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan for their service.

"I want to thank each member of the committee for their tireless effort in helping us find the right man to lead our football program and represent Auburn University," Jacobs said. "They were objective, thorough and thoughtful throughout the entire process. Their one and only agenda was doing what is best for Auburn."

Malzahn's ASU offense is in the top 25 nationally in nearly every offensive category, ranking 17th in total offense (481.8 ypg) and 21st in scoring offense (36.4 ppg) and rushing offense (217.4 ypg).  Led by record-setting quarterback Ryan Aplin, the Red Wolves' offense was 13th nationally in passing efficiency (155.39 rating) and averaged 217.4 yards per game passing. 

Malzahn made an immediate impact during his tenure at Auburn, highlighted by a record-setting offense in 2010 when the Tigers finished 14-0 and claimed the school's first national championship since 1957. The Auburn offense set nine school records, including points in a season (577), points per game (41.2), total yards (6,989), total offense (499.2), rushing yards (3,987), rushing touchdowns (41) and passing touchdowns (31). Malzahn's record-setting offense in 2010 led the Southeastern Conference and finished in the top 10 nationally in six statistical categories.

He coached Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton during the Tigers' run to the 2011 BCS National Championship. Under Malzahn's direction, Newton later became the overall No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft after producing one of the best single-season quarterback performances in collegiate history. 

He helped lead the Tigers to an 8-5 record in 2011, which included a victory in the Chik-fil-A Bowl. The Malzahn-led Auburn offense had four players named to the All-SEC Team.

Malzahn's arrival in 2009 and style of offense marked a drastic turnaround from the 2008 season when Auburn struggled offensively. In a two-year period, the Tigers improved from a tie for 110th to seventh in the nation in scoring offense (from 17.3 to 41.2) and from 104th to seventh in total offense. It also took Auburn just six games in 2009 to score more points than it did in all 12 games in 2008.

Before coaching at Auburn, Malzahn spent two seasons at Tulsa, coordinating a Golden Hurricane offense that finished first nationally in total offense in 2007 and 2008. Tulsa's offense in 2007 established nine team school records and 12 individual records. The Hurricane also set nine Conference USA team records, while Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith broke an NCAA record by throwing for at least 300 yards in 14 consecutive games.

Prior to his time at Tulsa, he coached one season at Arkansas, where he served as offensive coordinator, coached Heisman Trophy runner-up Darren McFadden and helped the Razorbacks finish fourth nationally in rushing offense at 228.5 yards per game.  Two of Malzahn's first three collegiate offenses ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing, including the 2008 Tulsa team and 2006 Arkansas squad.

Malzahn, 47, is married to the former Kristi Otwell and they are the parents of two daughters, Kylie (23) and Kenzie (20).

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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