Home on the Plains: Malzahn to stay, salary will more than double

Gus and Gene stay together!

Gus Malzahn is staying put at Auburn, and his salary will more than double for next year, the Opelika-Auburn News has learned.

Tigers head coach Gene Chizik said through a statement Monday that Malzahn would be receiving a raise and contract extension.

“Gus Malzahn has played a large role in the success of our football program the last two years and we’re very pleased to be able to give him a raise and extend his contract,” Chizik said. “In my opinion we have the best staff in the country, and while we want our coaches to strive to become head coaches, retaining them as long as we can is important to me and the entire Auburn family.

“Gus is a very bright and talented coach and we are looking forward to beginning preparation for the BCS National Championship.”

Chizik and Athletics Director Jay Jacobs saw a need to be proactive in keeping the continuity of the Tigers’ coaching staff after the season, so Jacobs put in a request to the Board of Trustees Compensation Committee before the Iron Bowl to increase the assistant coaches’ salary pool.

The committee approved the measure, leading to a substantial increase in the pool for all assistants and more than doubling Malzahn’s $500,000 he made this season.

The Birmingham News reported Monday that Malzahn will be making $1.3 million, which would make him one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the nation and put him about in the middle of the pack for FBS head coaches.

“We’re very happy for the opportunity he’s getting and others,” Jacobs said of Malzahn on Friday. “But if it’s not the right fit for him at this time, we’ll do what we can to keep him at Auburn.”

The Tennessean reported Thursday night that Vanderbilt upped its offer to Malzahn to nearly $3 million a year, and the Tigers’ coach was in Nashville for an interview last week.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Malzahn had accepted Vanderbilt’s offer to be its new head coach, but Vanderbilt director of communications Rod Williamson told the Tennessean that Malzahn hadn’t been hired yet.

The Tennessean reported Monday that Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor of Athletics David Williams said there was never a deal in place to make Malzahn the Commodores’ next head coach.

“I don’t want to say a deal is dead because there was no deal to be dead,” Williams told the Tennessean.

The Post reported Sunday that Malzahn had verbally agreed to be Vanderbilt’s next head coach, but had yet to sign a deal. The story said he could be introduced as the new Vanderbilt coach as soon as Monday.

Malzahn, who was hired at Auburn from Tulsa before the 2009 season, and his offense have set program records in points (555), total offense (6,470 yards) and rushing yards (3,733) this season.

The Tigers have averaged 38.0 points and 464.7 yards per game in 26 games under Malzahn.

Malzahn became the second Auburn coach to receive the Frank Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant, last Monday.

“I’m very appreciative of Coach Chizik and the entire administration for their support,” Malzahn said. “My family and I love Auburn and right now my main focus is helping Auburn win a national championship.”

dmorrison@oanow.com | 737-2568

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