Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has left the Tigers to become the head coach at Arkansas State, according to reports by several media outlets. If true – and if Malzahn elects not to stay with Auburn through the end of the month – this would mean the Tigers will be without both the offensive and defensive coordinators that led the team this season when they face Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31.
AStateNation, a Scout.com-affiliated web site that covers the Arkansas State football program, first reported the news of Malzahn’s departure from Auburn. The web site reported that a press conference introducing Malzahn will be held Wednesday.
The Birmingham News, which later confirmed the report, said it was not immediately known whether Malzahn would remain with Auburn through the Tigers’ bowl game against Virginia.
Auburn Coach Gene Chizik already this month has had to deal with the departure of defensive coordinator Ted Roof, who left to take the same position at Central Florida. Chizik has said he will serve as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator during the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Who might serve as Malzahn’s replacement – at least on an interim basis – remains unclear at this point.
Malzahn was highly regarded as an offensive coordinator, enough so that Auburn paid him $1.3 million per year. He joined the Tigers for the 2009 season and designed an offense around then-Auburn quarterback Cam Newton that helped the team win a national championship last year. Malzahn was named the top college assistant coach in the country in 2010.
With an overhauled offensive line – not to mention having to utilize two new quarterbacks – Auburn tied for No. 82 in the country in scoring offense (24.3 ppg) this season. The Tigers tied for No. 38 in rushing offense (174.8 ypg) and ranked No. 106 in passing offense (153.4 ypg). Auburn tied for No. 104 in the nation in total offense (328.2 ypg).