Gus Malzahn, Auburn Reportedly Agree on New Contract Amid Arkansas Rumors

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2017

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn watches teams warm up before the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game between Auburn and Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Auburn Tigers head football coach Gus Malzahn is reportedly staying put.

Brandon Marcello of 247Sports' Auburn Undercover reported the news Sunday, citing "a source familiar with the situation."

While the final terms of the contract are not yet known, Marcello noted "the deal will stretch at least five years and could include a raise to as much as $7 million."

This news comes after fellow SEC school Arkansas reportedly expressed interest in hiring Malzahn. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports cited a source who said, "Arkansas is dead serious…They want him in the worst way."

It may seem strange for Malzahn to consider leaving Auburn—which reached the SEC Championship Game and beat Alabama this season—for an Arkansas program that fired Bret Bielema and went 4-8, but Dodd noted the coach had grown "frustrated at the always-shifting perceptions of him" with the Tigers.

Dodd also pointed out "a three-touchdown loss to Georgia won't change the direction of those fickle winds at Auburn" following the Tigers' defeat in the SEC title contest.

"Yeah, I'm happy at Auburn," Malzahn told reporters after the game Saturday, via Dodd. "We have great players. I love my players. As I said before this game, we worked extremely hard to get here to this point, and we've got a very good foundation built, and I think the best is yet to come."

If the best is yet to come following this deal, that is welcome news for the Auburn faithful.

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Malzahn led the Tigers to the BCS title game in his first season, but they lost 34-31 to Florida State. He has beaten Nick Saban and Alabama twice, and he spearheaded a 10-3 campaign in 2017 that will conclude with a Peach Bowl showdown against undefeated Central Florida.

He also has the No. 9-ranked recruiting class in the country coming in for the 2018 cycle, per 247Sports, so there is reason for optimism moving forward.

Malzahn is 45-21 in five seasons at Auburn and has apparently done enough for the school to thwart him from leaving for Arkansas.