FAYETTEVILLE - Gus Malzhan, the Auburn football coach and Fort Smith native sought by the Arkansas Razorbacks for Arkansas’ vacant head football coaching position, has agreed to a 5-year offer to remain at Auburn, it was reported Sunday in Auburn, Ala. by Brandon Marcello who covers Auburn for the national website 247.
Malzhan reaffirmed his intention to stay at Auburn on Sunday afternoon.
Auburn is believed to have an offered Malzhan $7 million a year, figure also conjectured but not confirmed in the neighborhood that Arkansas was ready to pay.
“I’m planning on being at Auburn,” Malzhan was quoted Sunday “I told you last night that is where I wanted to be. Nothing has changed.”
Malzhan, an Arkansas champion high school coach at Hughes, Shiloh Christian and Springdale before his collegiate debut as Arkansas’ offensive coordinator in 2006 followed by coordinating Tulsa and Auburn offenses through 2011, head coached Arkansas State in 2012 and head coached Auburn since 2013 including the national runner-up and SEC championship in 2013 and the 2017 SEC West championship before thumped, 28-7 in Saturday’s SEC Championship game in Atlanta by the same SEC East champion Georgia Bulldogs team that Auburn routed 40-17 on Nov. 11 in Auburn, Ala.
With Malzhan apparently staying at Auburn, it is expected that the Razorbacks will turn their attention for the next coach to Memphis Coach Mike Norvell, a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, SMU Coach Chad Morris or Brent Venaables, the defensive coordinator for the No. 1 reigning national champion Clemson Tigers scheduled New Year’s Day to play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl semifinal of the national championship playoff with Georgia and Big 12 champion Oklahoma playing in the other semifinal championship game at the Rose Bowl.
Arkansas fired Coach Bret Bielema minutes after closing its 4-8 overall/1-7 SEC season in a 48-45 loss to Missouri Nov. 24 in Fayetteville after firing Athletic Director Jeff Long on Nov. 15.
UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz, assisted by a search firm and a 7-member advisory committee, is in charge of hiring the athletic director and ultimately the football coach, too, though he has assigned the groundwork for hiring the coach to Arkansas Interim Athletic Director Julie Cromer Peoples.
The UA has also hired a search firm to assist Cromer Peoples.
Derrick Gragg, the University of Tulsa athletic director, and a former Arkansas senior associate athletic director (2000-2006) under the late Frank Broyles, is regarded among the top candidates for Arkansas’ athletic director post.