HOOVER, Ala. — Call it the dreaded vote of confidence or a true showing of Auburn’s long-term commitment with Gus Malzahn as head coach. Either way, one thing is certain from the coach’s perspective: He doesn’t want to go anywhere anytime soon.
Malzahn received a one-year extension in a restructured deal that will pay him more money on the front end of the contract than his previous deal, which was announced June 6 after it was signed and approved April 1.
Malzahn’s contract, worth $4.725 million per season through 2020, could alleviate concerns on the recruiting trail as the coach enters his fourth season having lost nine of his last 11 SEC games.
“Well, I think it’s important to every head coach,” Malzahn said. “It shows that the administration has confidence in you. Like I said, I love coaching at Auburn, love being here and expect to be here a long time.”
When asked specifically about the contract extension helping the perception of the program’s stability as he traverses the recruiting trail, Malzahn said: “I think the big thing for me is it all works together.”
Malzahn previously was scheduled to be paid $4.35 million in 2016 with raises in the following seasons that would result in $5.1 million in 2019. Malzahn’s buyout remains at $2,237,500 for each year remaining on the contract should he be fired.
Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs voiced his vote of confidence — and used the same exact words previously used to support former Auburn coaches Tommy Tuberville and Gene Chizik in previous years — by saying at SEC spring meetings in May he expects Malzahn to be Auburn’s coach for a “long, long time.”
“He’s our coach and he’ll be our coach for a long, long time,” Jacobs said at SEC’s spring meetings. “He’s a brilliant offensive mind, took us to two national championships: once as a coordinator, once as a head coach. There’s a bunch of schools in this league that would love to be in our position with a guy like him. That’s a tough league. This league is tough every day. It doesn’t matter what year it is — year in, year out, how many years you’ve been here or whatever it may be. There is no doubt about it: He’s the right guy for Auburn.”
Auburn finished the 2015 season with a 7-6 record after opening the year ranked No. 6 nationally. Malzahn has not suffered through a losing season since 1992, when his Hughes (Ark.) High School team finished 4-6.
Malzahn has not stayed at a school longer than five successive years during his entire coaching career, which stretches to his start as a defensive coordinator at Hughes High in 1991. He has held five different college jobs during his 10-plus years coaching college football.
Auburn opens the season Sept. 3 against Clemson, which finished as the national runner-up last season, at Jordan-Hare Stadium.