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Arkansas State University football coach Gus Malzahn accepts head coaching job at Auburn

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Staff Photo by Ron Kemp - Daily Dunklin Democrat
Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn asks questions to the officiating crew in the 2012 Sun Belt Conference championship game vs. Middle Tennessee. Arkansas State beat Middle Tennessee 45-0 in the conference championship. It finished the 2012 season 9-3. [Order this photo]
Arkansas State University confirmed Tuesday afternoon current head football coach Gus Malzahn will be accepting the position of head football coach at Auburn University next season.

Chancellor of Arkansas State University Dr. Tim Hudson and athletic director Terry Mohajir issued the following statements in a press release provided by Arkansas State University Tuesday.

"Coach Gus Malzahn informed us this afternoon that he would be accepting the head coaching position at Auburn University," Hudson said. "We appreciate his contributions to our conference championship season and wish him well.

Mohajir added: "The back-to-back championships in the Sun Belt Conference make this a very attractive position and we're confident we will have a lot of interest. This administration, this community and the entire Arkansas State family have demonstrated our commitment to have a nationally prominent intercollegiate athletics program and will continue to do so."

Malzahn served as Auburn's offensive coordinator during the 2010 national championship run before heading to Arkansas State for his first college head coaching position. He will receive a five-year contract worth $2.3 million annually to coach at Auburn.

"I recruited a lot of them and have very good relationships," Malzahn told the Associated Press. "I just told them our expectations are to win championships. Whatever happened last year happened last year. It's a new day. We're going to put a good brand of football on the field and we're going to have fun doing it."

Arkansas State went 9-3 under Malzahn in 2012 and won the Sun Belt Conference title.

Arkansas State will play in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6 against Kent State in Mobile, Ala. Malzahn hasn't ruled out coaching in the bowl.

Malzahn will replace Gene Chizik as head at Auburn. Auburn fired Chizik following a 3-9 2012 season that ended with a 49-0 loss to No. 2 ranked Alabama.

"I'm just tickled to death," Malzahn told the Associated Press. "It's a true honor for me to be the head coach of the Auburn Tigers. I spent three years here and I can honestly say it's the best three years of my life. I feel connected forever."

Malzahn served as Tulsa's offensive coordinator for two seasons and the offensive coordinator at Arkansas for one season before he was an assistant at Auburn.

Arkansas State's offense was ranked No. 19 nationally in total offense in 2012. Auburn's offense ranked 115th in 2012.

"We will be a fast-paced, attacking-style offense and defense," Malzahn told the Associated Press of the offensive style he plans on playing at Auburn. "In this day and age, I believe you have to."

The search committee to hire Auburn's next coach included athletic director Jay Jacobs, Auburn Heisman Trophy winners Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson and former Tigers player Mac Crawford.

"We are tremendously excited that Gus Malzahn will be our next head football coach," Jacobs said to the Associated Press. "Coach Malzahn was the clear unanimous choice of our search committee, and I am pleased that Dr. Gogue has accepted our recommendation. This is a great day for Auburn football and Auburn University."

Arkansas State University System President Dr. Charles L. Welch will begin an immediate search for Malzahn's successor.

"We remain firmly committed to our facilities upgrade plans," Welch said. "We owe this to our student-athletes and fans, and we remain excited about the opportunities ahead for the Red Wolves."

Note: The Associated Press contributed information to this report.

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