Speaking Out: A Roundup Of Early Reaction To Arkansas State Hiring Auburn's Gus Malzahn

by Chris Bahn  on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011 8:10 am  

Gus Malzahn leaving Auburn for Arkansas State has sparked reaction throughout college football media.

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

4.  Malzahn just wanted the heck out of Auburn for some reason.

The Anniston Star

Auburn’s fall from its 2010 national championship is starting to feel like Michael Dyer’s suspension — indefinite.

How else to interpret the offseason that’s shaping up following a regular season of blowout losses to the best teams the Tigers played?

Dyer, a two-time thousand-yard rusher and easily the most productive player on the nation’s 104th-ranked offense, is out for at least the Tigers’ Chick-fil-A Bowl matchup with Virginia.

Gus Malzahn, who coordinated a lot of good offenses before this season, will leave Auburn to become Arkansas State’s head coach, the Birmingham News reported late Tuesday. He’ll reportedly take a $500,000-a-year pay cut to coach a Sun Belt Conference team.


Auburn struggled offensively this season, however, with a new offensive line and quarterbacks, and stands at 104th in the nation in total offense heading to its Chick-fil-A Bowl game against Virginia on New Year's Eve.

Auburn is already without a defensive coordinator. Ted Roof left for Central Florida last week.

Malzahn was a hot commodity after the 2010 season, but passed on head coaching opportunities at Maryland and Vanderbilt. He signed a new contract that paid $1.3 million annually, making him the highest paid coordinator in the nation.


For many, the sticking point in all this ... how did Malzahn fall from turning down a $3 million-per-year offer with Vanderbilt to taking a pay cut just to land in Jonesboro, Arkansas, at a school that had never won six games in a year until 2011? (sic, ASU had not won more than six games a year since moving to the FBS level in 1992.)

For one, we could be dealing with a man who values things beyond money. There are a few of those. He may also just really like the state. He's 46 years old, and as far as I can tell, has spent just five years of his adult life based outside of Arkansas. He went to high school and college there and coached there until 2006.

Another theory, if you don't buy that he would've accepted any head job that would allow him to return home: he'd thought he would've been able to do better than Vandy in 2011, but found that interviews at UNC and Kansas didn't go as hoped, which left only ASU (and, you know, the other ASU).

And, FWIW, some have speculated Kristi Malzahn's aggressively edited rant video may have harmed her husband's changes of landing a top job.



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