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story.lead_photo.caption 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) - Photo by Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE -- Gus Malzahn and the No. 2 Auburn Tigers lost the SEC Championship Game and a shot at the national championship with Saturday's 28-7 loss to No. 6 Georgia in Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The consolation for Malzahn is two attractive options for where he'll make his home next season. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville officials were prepared late Saturday to make a substantial offer to lure the Fort Smith native Malzahn away from Auburn and back home. ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach described the nature of Arkansas' offer, according to his sources, as "backing up a Brinks truck."

Malzahn, who led Auburn to a 10-3 record and victories over No. 1 teams Georgia and Alabama in the last month, will also have the option of staying at Auburn, which has prepared a raise and contract extension.

Malzahn was asked in his postgame news conference about where he intended to be next season.

"Yeah, I'm happy at Auburn," Malzahn said. "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."

A reporter asked whether that meant Arkansas should not bother to call him.

"I'm the head coach at Auburn, and I just said I want to be the head coach at Auburn," Malzahn replied.

The reporter followed by asking will Malzahn continue to be Auburn's coach.

"I want to be," Malzahn said.

Moves are expected quickly now in Arkansas' searches for a football coach and athletic director.

UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz, in Houston for the Razorbacks men's basketball game and to attend a UA Alumni Association service project at the Houston Food Bank, was asked about the searches.

"The only update I have is we're making great progress on both searches," Steinmetz told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Asked whether he was interviewing Tulsa Athletic Director Derrick Gragg today, Steinmetz replied, "I'm not commenting on any of the candidates. But we're interviewing candidates right now."

Steinmetz added of both searches, "We're trying to get it done as soon as we can."

Former Razorbacks logged in with their thought about Malzahn, the offensive coordinator at Arkansas in 2006, shortly after the game.

"Time to come home Gus," receiver Jarius Wright wrote to his Twitter account.

"Here he comes!" wrote quarterback Tyler Wilson, adding the hash tag "GusBus."

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Sports on 12/03/2017

Print Headline: Malzahn expected to have a choice of where to coach

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  • KingCoyote
    December 3, 2017 at 10:05 a.m.

    Big, big mistake to shell out that kind of money but Arkansas has backed itself into a corner with all the debt to expand the stadium. Sooner or later this ridiculous bubble of football will implode and hurt all other college athletics.

  • ZeebronZ
    December 3, 2017 at 10:33 a.m.

    Malzahn is not coming to Arkansas, regardless what they offer him. It would like moving from a house with indoor plumbing to one without. Big step backwards.

  • Delta2
    December 3, 2017 at 10:37 a.m.

    It really just depends on what Gus wants...UAF will likely come through with more money and a friendlier environment, but he'll only beat Bama once every 15-20 years. He'll bring UAF to middle of the SEC pack. Most of the people that ran him off the first time are long gone.

    At Auburn, the money will be good but the expectations higher, but he'll beat Bama maybe 40-50% of the time and he'll have much better athletes from which to choose when it comes to recruiting. The fan base and administration won't be as forgiving.

    So it just depends if he wants to coach at a higher level with more risk, or be comfortable emotionally and settle (although slightly richer).

  • RBBrittain
    December 3, 2017 at 1:36 p.m.

    Translation: Gus & Jimmy Sexton are waiting on Auburn to bring him an even bigger Brinks truck than Arkansas'. I hope Bama boosters help stuff Auburn's truck, mainly so they can bring him the mother of all Brinks trucks whenever Nick Saban retires. I certainly don't want the Gus Bus coming home, but it looks like he's just a bidding war away. :(

  • Dero
    December 3, 2017 at 2:44 p.m.

    Thank you Jarius Wright and Tyler Wilson for the recruiting assistance!

  • Delta2
    December 3, 2017 at 5:59 p.m.

    Although ESPN has been known to whiff mightily on a supposedly breaking story, their website shows Gus and Auburn have agreed to a new deal.

  • tppt2aolcom
    December 3, 2017 at 7:38 p.m.

    No Malzhan for me please. He's just another coaching nomad. His loyalty to the Arkansas State football team and program tells me all I need to know about him.

  • user92115
    December 4, 2017 at 9:33 a.m.

    KingCoyote you shouldn't comment about things you don't know anything about. I agree the people on the hill have totally screwed up everything right now. But, the football bubble bursting and screwing up all college athletes? Don't you understand? Football pays for all other college athletics?

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