New Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn greets Auburn fans at Auburn Airport
“It’s a new day,” said new Auburn Football Coach Gus Malzahn. “My goal is to get Auburn back to a championship level. Two years ago we won a championship. The expectation at Auburn is to win championships. We are going to do everything in our power to get that done.”
It was that attitude probably more than any thing else that convinced the Auburn Search Committee to unanimously recommend Arthur Gusatvius Malzah III as the 26th Head Football Coach for Auburn University.
Committee member Bo Jackson said it was, “The passion with which he answered questions The gleam in his eye. The tenacity, and the way he explained the things he wanted to do here.”
“In some way, to come into a hornet’s nest like this, and say, hey, my job is to rebuild this program, to get these kids back to the winning ways Auburn fans are used to, that says a lot,” Jackson said.
Nevertheless, there are some fans disappointed this morning. That’s understandable. Many had wanted a bigger name coach. The committee reached out to several of those types but the overtures were not reciprocated and so, of the coaches that were interested, Malzahn was the overwhelming favorite of the committee.
He may not have been the committee’s first choice but in the end he may have been the right choice. He is noted for being a stickler for details, a hard worker, a great recruiter, and an offensive guru.
Still there were many Auburn fans that had Gus as their first choice. Malzahn was the favorite in separate polls done by Track ‘Em Tigers and the Opelika Auburn News.
For those who felt under whelmed, this coach comes to Auburn in an entirely different manner than the last one did.
Gene Chizik was the exclusive hire of Athletic Director, Jay Jacobs, whereas this coach was recommended by a committee of three men besides Jacobs.
Although Chizik had an impressive resume as a top assistant, his head coaching experience was a dismal; 5-19 at Iowa State. Contrast that with the record of Gus” Malzahn who has been a winner at every stop in his career:
* He was a nationally recognized …
Arkansas high school coaching legend that took three different schools to the state championships.
* Then he was hired in 2005 as the Offensive Coordinator at Arkansas where he helped the Razorbacks win the SEC Western Division Championship and was named the National Offensive Coordinator of the Year by Rivals.com.
* In 2007 he became the OC at the University of Tulsa. The school had the nation’s No.1 offense and became the first team in NCAA history to have a 5,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and three 1,000-yard receivers in the same season.
* In 2008, The Golden Hurricane were ranked 2nd in the nation in scoring and finished with the 2nd highest scoring offense in the history of college football. His Tulsa offense was also the nation’s most balanced attack, ranking 5th in the nation in rushing and 9th in passing.
* After taking the OC job at Auburn, Malzahn improved Auburn’s 110th place national ranking in scoring the previous season to 17th in 2009 and the Tigers finished 16th in the nation in total offense.
* His first Auburn season broke the Auburn total offense for a season record previously set by the undefeated 2004 team. And the running game finished the season ranked 13th in the nation with 212 yards per game
* He took a Senior quarterback with a bum arm (Chris Todd) and set a single-season touchdown record at Auburn. Todd finished the season with a passer rating of 145.73, ranking him 18th in the nation.
* Of course every one knows what he did in 2010 when he took a juco QB named Cam Newton and led the Tigers in rolling up the best scoring offense in the SEC, best in total offense, rushing offense, pass efficiency, first downs, and first down conversions on their way to an undefeated season and the school’s first National Championship in 53 years.
* As a result, Gus was awarded the 2010 Broyles Award, recognizing him as the top assistant coach in the nation.
* In 2011, even though the Tigers were in a rebuilding year and had to deal with QB injuries, Auburn still won eight games in a season that was capped off by a 43-21 victory over Virginia in the Chick-fil-a Bowl.
* In 2012, Gus became the Head Coach for Arkansas State and led his team to the SunBelt Conference Championship and the Go Daddy.com Bowl game.
That brings us to his being hired as Auburn’s new head coach. Auburn found it self in a fix at the end of 2012 . The Tigers were in desperate need of someone who could come in and breathe new life back in a program that had hit record lows.
Someone who knows the players. Someone who has the recruiting connections. Someone that believes in hard work and discipline. Someone with a proven track record that is not intimidated by any foe – including the one on the other side of the state.
That man is Gus Malzahn. He’s not frightened by the demands of the task. If you saw him at his introductory press conference you got a sense that he is energized by the challenge.
You got to like his up front bold statement that his, “Goal is to get Auburn back to a championship level … to win championships. We are going to do everything in our power to get that done.”
Yes Gus Malzahn may not have been everyone’s choice. And he may not have been the committee’s first choice but in the end he may prove to have been the right choice.
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