Less than a year after he left for Arkansas State, Gus Malzahn will return triumphantly to Auburn. He has agreed to become Auburn's 26th head football coach.
Gus Malzahn to be Auburn head coach
Renowned for his hurryup, no-huddle offense, Malzahn was Auburn's offensive coordinator from 2009-2011. His offenses broke Auburn records in 2009 and2010 and did the same at Arkansas State this season.
Malzahn's return to Auburn completes a meteoric rise from legendary Arkansas high school coach to the head coach's position at one of the Southeastern Conference's six traditional powers.
In 2009, Malzahn resurrected the career of Chris Todd and shattered Auburn offensive records. In 2010, the Tigers broke all those records again en route to a 14-0 record and the BCS national championship. Quarterback Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy.
The 2011 season was a struggle for Malzahn, ordered to slow down his offense after three games. He left for Arkansas State shortly after the season.
This season, Arkansas State is 9-3 with seven consecutive victories. The Red Wolves crushed Middle Tennessee State 45-0 last Saturday to win the Sun Belt Conference championship and accepted a bid to play in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile.
For the season, the Red Wolves average 36.4 points, 217.4 yards per game rushing and 264.4 yards per game passing for 481.8 yards per game total. They scored 41 or more points in four of their last five games.
Malzahn left Springdale (Ark.) High School and took over as Arkansas' offensive coordinator in 2006. He moved to Tulsa, where he led the nation in total offense in 2007 and 2008.
Malzahn said in an earlier interview he never set out with a goal to get to football's fastest lane.
"I just took it year by year and in the moment,” Malzahn said. “I really never had early dreams of ‘I want to be coaching Division I football.’ It was more of ‘I want to win a state championship.’ You get that, then you think about the next step.”
One step followed another, and now Malzahn is poised to take the biggest step of all.