AUBURN, Ala. — Now armed with what is reportedly a 7-year, $49 million deal, Gus Malzahn is thinking even bigger for an Auburn football team eyeing its 11th win of the season.
Malzahn recently told Chris Low of ESPN he believed the best is still yet to come for the Tigers.
“Our program is more stable than it’s been in any of the eight years I’ve been here before,” Malzahn told Low. “We’ve got talented players. We’ve got a very good staff, and it is set up for us to win championships. That’s what is exciting for me.”
Malzahn was reportedly the top target at Arkansas, where he played and coached. But Malzahn turned down the Razorbacks with his new deal at Auburn. He led the Tigers to double-digit upset wins over No. 1 teams Georgia and Alabama before a 28-7 loss to Georgia in the SEC title game.
“We didn’t finish the SEC championship game the way we wanted to this year, but I’m proud of what this team accomplished,” Malzahn told Low.
Auburn president Steven Leath confirmed the new contract for Malzahn on Sunday night. The first-year president is leading a search for a new athletic director, but he has his football coach locked down for the long term.
“I’m very appreciative of President Leath and the Auburn administration for their belief in me and their commitment to our future,” Malzahn told Low. “I said before the season that the next three or four seasons are fixing to be our best, and I believe that more today than ever. We’re on solid foundation and have a chance to do some special things.”
Auburn could return as many as 17 starters next season from a team that won double-digit games and the SEC West title. The Tigers will kick off the 2018 calendar year by playing UCF in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day.
“I’m blessed to be the head coach at Auburn,” Malzahn said. “I love the school and love where we’re going. We’ve worked hard the last five years to get our program to this point, and there’s a lot more out there for us.”