Gus Malzahn: Did Wife's Rant Kick Auburn OC Out the Door?

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2011

Courtesy: USA Today
Courtesy: USA Today

Auburn Tigers offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is leaving the program to become head coach of the Arkansas State Red Wolves, according to the Associated Press.

His departure has raised questions about whether or not his wife's highly-publicized comments, which made headlines around Thanksgiving, pushed him out the door.

Videos of Kristi Malzhan's discussion with Dr. Ronnie Floyd, an Arkansas-based pastor, have been removed from YouTube. However, here's one of the quotes that caused a minor firestorm (via Image CPR):

“It goes to a place of questioning his integrity and his character and his intelligence because a group of 18 to 22 year olds did not perform on the field like they should have. And if you’ve worked with 18 to 22 year old individuals, most of the time they’re not the most intelligent people that are out there anyway. We’re the nuts because we’re willing to base our whole entire lives on what they decide to do for the day.”

She went on to discuss other topics including Cam Newton, Michael Dyer and Lou Holtz. While her comments weren't what you'd expect from a coach's wife, there wasn't anything overly controversial which should lead anybody to believe they were the sole reason for his move.

Removing the video certainly didn't help the situation because that made it seem like somebody was trying to hide something. The fact is, there really wasn't much to hide other than a few off-the-cuff comments.

Since coaches' wives so rarely speak out, uniqueness more than anything else was the reason a seemingly minute story went viral.

Malzahn has a nice résumé, including being given the Broyles Award as college football's top assistant coach last season for helping Auburn win a national title. When he accepted a job with a Sun Belt Conference program, some people wondered if other forces were in play.

It's important to note that Malzahn is an Arkansas guy, though. He went to high school there, walked on to the Arkansas football team and had a successful career coaching high school teams before returning to Arkansas as an offensive coordinator in 2006.

Returning to the state where he began working himself up the coaching ladder shouldn't be viewed as a major surprise. What's more, considering Arkansas State's former head coach made a move to Ole Miss, it isn't like it's a black hole for a coach to enter, either.

Malzahn is one of the leading offensive minds in all of college football. He helped revolutionize no-huddle offenses and garnered attention for using the Wildcat formation.

He'll be out of the spotlight with the Red Wolves, which should allow any ongoing discussions about his wife's thoughts to die off during the offseason.

While they may have played some minor role in the decision-making process between Auburn, Arkansas State and himself, there just isn't enough evidence to state her actions led directly to him becoming the new Red Wolves head man.