AUBURN - Gus Malzahn, one game from the end of his third Auburn season, has agreed to become head coach at Arkansas State, Auburn Undercover has learned.
Malzahn, who helped Auburn win a national championship and quarterback Cam Newton win the Heisman Trophy in 2010, achieved a career goal after six seasons as a college coach.
In December of 2010, Malzahn turned down an offer to take over as Vanderbilt head coach and later declined to interview for an opening at Maryland. In recent weeks, he was a strong candidate at North Carolina and Kansas, but was not the final choice for either job.
According to reports, Malzahn, a native of Fort Smith, Ark., will be paid in the neighborhood of $850,000 per year, plus incentives, at Arkansas State. That's a substantial increased in commitment for Arkansas State but almost a 50 percent pay cut for Malzahn, who signed a three-year contract worth $1.3 million per year after turning down Vanderbilt.
Malzahn was legendary coach at Shiloh Christian and Springdale (Ark.) High School before becoming Arkansas offensive coordinator in 2006. He moved to Tulsa had broke offensive records in 2007 in 2008. He broke more records at Auburn in 2009 and 2010, but the Tiger offense has hit on hard times this season.
Arkansas State was 10-2 last season under Hugh Freeze, who was named head coach at Ole Miss earlier this month.