Gus Malzahn Named UCF Head Coach After 8 Seasons with Auburn

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2021

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn watches during the second half of an NCAA college football game against LSU on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

UCF announced Monday that former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn will be the team's new head football coach.

Malzahn said in a statement:

"I'm thrilled to be the head coach at UCF, and I'm truly looking forward to being part of Knight Nation. It's exciting to be head of a program where the future is extremely bright. I will be hitting the ground running in terms of getting to know our team and everyone else connected with UCF. Our goal is to be ready to win championships."

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Athletic director Terry Mohajir added:

"When I started the search process, it became very evident very quickly that, based on the conversations I had with the players last week and what they told me were looking for, Gus Malzahn was the guy for the job. He has won at every level, and he has coached a Heisman Trophy winner and NFL draft picks. There has never been a better time for Coach Malzahn to lead this program than right now."

Malzahn signed a five-year contract worth $11.5 million, per the school.

Malzahn spent the past eight years with Auburn, accumulating a 68-35 record while finishing over .500 in each season. The school fired him in December after the Tigers produced a 6-4 mark in 2020. The head coach was also paid a $21.45 million buyout as part of his exit from Auburn.

Despite his consistency during the regular season, the 55-year-old was often criticized for his team's performances in the postseason.

The Tigers went 2-5 in bowl games with Malzahn at the helm, including losses in the BCS National Championship, Sugar Bowl and Peach Bowl, the latter coming against UCF after the 2017 season.

"After evaluating the state of the Auburn football program, we've decided that it was time to make a change in leadership," Auburn director of athletics Allen Greene said in a statement in December.

Auburn hired former Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin to replace Malzahn.

Malzahn has an opportunity at a fresh start with UCF, which had a vacancy after head coach Josh Heupel left for Tennessee.

The Knights went 6-4 in 2020 but have been one of the most successful teams in college football as of late with a 41-8 record over the last four seasons.

Adding Malzahn gives the school an experienced coach who won the AP Coach of the Year award in 2013 during his first season at Auburn. As an offensive coordinator with the Tigers, he won the Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in the country while helping lead the team to a national championship.

The coach also had success at lower levels with a 9-3 record during his lone season at Arkansas State in 2012.

Mohajir was the athletic director at Arkansas State at the time and was recently hired as the AD of UCF.