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Malzahn hired as next head coach at Auburn

By Matthew Harris

This article was originally published December 4, 2012 at 2:50 p.m. Updated December 4, 2012 at 5:21 p.m.

arkansas-state-head-coach-gus-malzahn-from-left-quarterback-ryan-aplin-and-linebacker-nathan-herrold-are-presented-with-the-sun-belt-conference-trophy-following-their-ncaa-college-football-game-against-middle-tennessee-on-saturday-malzahn-was-hired-as-head-coach-at-auburn-on-tuesday

Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn, from left, quarterback Ryan Aplin and linebacker Nathan Herrold are presented with the Sun Belt Conference trophy following their NCAA college football game against Middle Tennessee on Saturday. Malzahn was hired as head coach at Auburn on Tuesday.

Malzahn leaves Arkansas State for Auburn

Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn is leaving after one season to take the vacant coaching job at...

— In the afterglow of helping Arkansas State claim its second-consecutive Sun Belt Conference title, Red Wolves Coach Gus Malzahn is returning to Auburn to take the job held by his former boss.

Multiple sources told to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Tuesday that Malzahn, 47, will leave Arkansas State and return to the Plains to take the helm of the Tigers.

The move comes nine days after former Tigers Coach Gene Chizik was fired in the wake of a 3-9 season. Malzahn served as his offensive coordinator from 2009 until 2011.

ASU released a statement late Tuesday afternoon addressing Malzahn's departure. In the a statement, ASU Chancellor Dr. Tim Hudson said Malzahn informed the school that he would be leaving for the Auburn job and "we appreciate his contributions to our conference championship season and wish him well."

No formal announcement has come from either Arkansas State or Auburn, but sources told the Democrat-Gazette they learned of his intended departure around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

No salary figures for taking over Auburn were available, but Malzahn will have to pay a $700,000 buyout for his four-year contract that currently provides him $850,000 annually.

In a lone season at Arkansas State, Malzahn led the Red Wolves to a 9-3 record, including seven-consecutive victories to end the year, and a berth in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6 against No. 25 Kent State in Mobile, Ala. For the time being, Malzahn will coach the team in the bowl game, according to the release.

With the departure, the Red Wolves will again face a month of bowl preparations with their coaching situation in limbo almost a year to the day after former Coach Hugh Freeze left ASU to take over at Ole Miss.

The release also stated that ASU Athletic Director Terry Muhajir and ASU System President Dr. Charles Welch would begin a search for Malzahn's replacement immediately.

“The back-to-back championships in the Sun Belt Conference make this a very attractive position, and we’re confident we’ll have a lot of interest,” Mohajir said in the release. “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.”

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DoWhat says... December 4, 2012 at 3:05 p.m.

Good - maybe they will remove all of those silly billboards now....

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Dontcallmenames says... December 4, 2012 at 3:06 p.m.

Dang traitor! He has now betrayed the state of Arkansas AGAIN! If he wanted to leave A-State, why didn't he knock on Jeff Long's door? I wish Malzahn would renounce his Arkansas heritage and stay in the state of Alabama!

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TigerInArk says... December 4, 2012 at 3:10 p.m.

Good opportunity for him. No where for Auburn to go but up. Maybe he will hire Nutt as an Asst.

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cdjcord says... December 4, 2012 at 3:17 p.m.

I realize all Coaches use ASU as a stepping stone - but, it's not fair to the players and everyone who supports the Red Wolves...

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jwhill says... December 4, 2012 at 3:33 p.m.

He called and asked for the job at ASU, adamantly maintained he was here to "take this to the next level", and was in it for the long term. Says everything about his (lack of) integrity and honesty.

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snuffy1 says... December 4, 2012 at 3:36 p.m.

you people grow up, what do you expect him to do when he is offered and extra 2 or 3 million a year with a multi million dollar buy out, TURN IT DOWN... HE AIN'T NO FOOL... ask yourself truthfully, what would you do?

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RonalFos says... December 4, 2012 at 3:44 p.m.

It's ok as long as he coaches the bowl game! A clause should be in every coaches contract that has a $10 million penalty for leaving before the last game of the year.

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HotSpringsLawyer says... December 4, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.

At least the players get to enjoy a variety of pretty good coaches.

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Jackabbott says... December 4, 2012 at 3:52 p.m.

Congrats to Gus. Do not like Auburn but Gus deserves it. Can only hope he does not become another Bear Bryant. Arkansas coach making great things happen in Alabama, we have seen this story before.

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