College Football

Gus Malzahn and Auburn Tigers Agree to 6-Year Extension

USA Today
Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2013

Auburn is making sure that any more miracles Gus Malzahn has up his sleeve come on the Tigers sideline, as the school announced a six-year extension with its head coach on Friday.

The extension will pay Malzahn $3.85 million in the first year, with subsequent $250,000 escalators for its duration.

Malzahn signed a five-year deal with the school last December that paid him an annual salary of $2.3 million. The new deal begins next season, and director of athletics Jay Jacobs noted that this financial commitment ensures Malzahn will be at Auburn for the foreseeable future. 

Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn walks the tiger walk prior to the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

"The new contract includes a raise and extension and is our statement that Auburn is committed to coach Malzahn for the long haul," Jacobs said. "While this season has been remarkable, I'm equally excited about the future of our program under his leadership. The future of Auburn football is very bright."

An extension had been in the works for some time. Jacobs told AL.com's Brandon Marcello on Nov. 30 that the school was already planning on approaching Malzahn after the season on the strength of the program's turnaround. A season after going 3-9, including an 0-8 mark in the SEC, Malzahn has the Tigers (11-1) ranked third in the country and on the precipice of a conference championship.

With his salary ranking near the bottom rung of the SEC's 14 coaches, a new deal was an inevitability that both sides acknowledged.

After last week's whirlwind, however, Auburn likely greatly expedited that process. Malzahn got the biggest coaching victory of his career last Saturday, when defensive back Chris Davis returned a field goal more than 100 yards as time expired to defeat then-No. 1 Alabama. The finish is already regarded as one of the best in college football history and shined an even greater spotlight on Malzahn, who was already receiving national Coach of the Year buzz.

 

More important than that win was the looming specter of other major programs coming calling. Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel reported this week that Malzahn has privately told friends that coaching the University of Texas was his "dream job." With longtime coach Mack Brown possibly on his way out this season, it's probable the Longhorns would have pursued Malzahn with a big-money offer designed to lure him back to his home state.

Instead, the Tigers cracked open their piggy bank to ensure that conversation never takes place. The school did not announce buyout stipulations, but it likely included enough assurances that only the deepest pockets in college football or the NFL can come knocking.

Just hours away from possibly locking up his first SEC championship, Malzahn can cross one more distraction off his list in what's been a storybook first season.

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