DESTIN, Florida — Gus Malzahn may face a crucial season in his career in 2016, but Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs has full confidence in the head coach.
Malzahn enters his fourth season having lost nine of the last 11 SEC games and each season’s record has dwindled since the Tigers’ memorable 12-2 run to the SEC title and appearance in the BCS National Championship in 2013.
A No. 6 pre-season ranking, along with nearly losing to in-state FCS foe Jacksonville State, soured some fans as the Tigers finished with a 7-6 record with a win against Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl. Jacobs, however, sees a bright future ahead.
“He’s our coach and he’ll be our coach for a long, long time,” Jacobs said Wednesday at the 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.”
History is on Auburn’s side. The coach has not suffered through a losing season since 1992, when his Hughes (Ark.) High team finished 4-6.
Malzahn has four years remaining on a six-year contract he signed in December 2013. He is scheduled to be paid $4.35 million in 2016, with raises that will bring his salary to $5.1 million in the final year of the contract in 2019.