360° Coverage : NCAA: Auburn's Gus Malzahn is National Coach of the Year

NCAA: Auburn's Gus Malzahn is National Coach of the Year

Auburn Tigers head football coach Gus Malzahn, who guided the team to its second BCS national championship game appearance in four seasons, won the Eddie Robinson national coach of the year award on Dec. 16.

Dec 16 2013, 9:28pm CST | by

NCAA: Auburn's Gus Malzahn is National Coach of the Year
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Auburn Tigers head football coach Guz Malzahn is the 2013 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year. 

Malzahn spoke with Charles Goldberg of the Tigers' official athletics website and said the award is also dedicated to the coaching staff and the players. The award is named after the late Grambling State Tigers head football coach "who is the all-time leader in Division I victories," per Goldberg.  

Malzahn, who was honored to receive an accolade named after Robinson, will receive the award on Jan. 4. 

"I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Robinson and looked up to him as a coach and as an individual. I accept this award on behalf of our entire coaching staff and players, which have done an oustanding job this year getting our program turned around." 

The Associated Press notes Malzahn is just the third coach to cop the award in his first season at the helm, joining the ranks of the Maryland Terrapins' Ralph Friedgen in 2001 and the Army Black Knights' Tom Cahill in 1966. 

Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) president Chris Dufresne spoke on behalf of the organization in acknowledging how deserving Malzahn is, according to Goldberg.

"Certainly, the job Coach Malzahn has done this year warrants this award. It is one of the best turnarounds in college football history and to do it in the first year at a school even adds to the accomplishment." 

On the same day Malzahn was informed that he will receive the award, he also spoke with Goldberg's colleague, Phillip Marshall, who reports any rumor about the Tigers head coach going somewhere else was put to rest after Malzahn agreed to a six-year extension on Dec. 5. 

The new deal would pay him approximately $3.85 million in the first year and will increase by $250,000 annually, per Marshall. 

Malzahn also had been rumored to replace former Texas Longhorns head football coach Mack Brown, who decided to step down on Dec. 14. However, the Auburn mentor declared he is "a good fit" for the school's football program when he spoke with Marshall.

"I am a good fit for the Auburn Tigers. Thats' why I signed a contract the day before the SEC Championship. Like I said before, I am tickled to death to be here.

"I'm going to do everything in my power to keep our staff together." 

His accomplishments in his first season as Tigers mentor speak for themselves. 

After going 3-9 in 2012, Auburn rebounded and improved to a 12-1 mark and a 2013 BCS National Championship Game appearance under Malzahn. "Auburn is tied for the biggest turnaround in college football history in NCAA records at +8.5 games as Malzahn turned a 3-9 season with a total offense ranked 117th out of 124 teams prior to his arrival with a 12-1 record," the Tigers' official athletics website emphasizes. 

He was the Tigers' offensive coordinator from 2009-11 and then guided the Arkansas State Red Wolves to a 9-3 record in the Sun Belt Conference in 2012 in his first head football coaching stint. 

Malzahn was also proclaimed SEC Coach of the Year by The Associated Press and is a finalist for the Maxwell and Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year awards, per AuburnTigers.com. 


 
 
 


Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.

 

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