Malzahn Planning Double Duty With Red Wolves, Auburn Over Next Two-Plus Weeks

by Chris Bahn  on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011 8:00 am  

Arkansas State Red Wolves Coach Gus Malzahn (Photo by Ashley George)

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JONESBORO — Football has been a big part of Gus Malzahn’s life for years. It will consume him even more than usual as 2011 draws to an end.

Malzahn, named Arkansas State’s head coach on Wednesday, will continue serving as offensive coordinator for Auburn through the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31. While still with the Tigers, he’ll be recruiting players and coaches for Arkansas State.

That means Malzahn will be working double duty until Jan. 1. If there is such a thing as too much football, Malzahn will potentially get it over the next two-plus weeks.

"There's no doubt I'm going to do my best at both places,” Malzahn said. “I really feel like Auburn has been great to me. I want to do my best to help us end with an eighth win. And at the same time, hit the ground recruiting, hiring a staff and getting the right people in here."

Arkansas State (10-2) will continue to have David Gunn acting as interim coach. Gunn is overseeing the Red Wolves’ preparations for Northern Illinois in the Bowl at Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 8.

Malzahn, who agreed to a five-year deal, said he is considering coaching ASU in the bowl game. It’s something, like the hires he makes for his coaching staff, that he is “evaluating.”

Samford offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee is expected to join Malzahn at Arkansas State. Lashlee played for Malzahn at Shiloh Christian and has worked with him on the staffs at Arkansas and Auburn.

Gunn and other coaches currently on staff (Corey Batoon, Grant Heard, Darren Hiller and Tyler Siskey) will have the opportunity to join Malzahn. He'll interview and see if they fit his plan for the program.

"I’m going to talk to each one of the coaches on staff," Malzahn said. "I do have a lot of respect for each one on staff. I know some personally."

Malzahn will work those meetings around his schedule with the Tigers.

Auburn Coach Gene Chizik said he was glad to have Malzahn remain on staff through the Tigers’ bowl game. While the Tigers have struggled offensively this season, Malzahn is just one year removed from overseeing a record-setting offense that featured Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton.

“Gus has experienced success in each stop of his coaching career and I have no doubt that he will have similar results at Arkansas State,” Chizik said in a statement. “We look forward to having Gus stay with us through the bowl game and hope to send him out with a victory."



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