Auburn tabs Malzahn as new head coach

Gus Malzahn is headed back to Auburn.

The university announced Tuesday that it has hired Malzahn, who spent three seasons there as offensive coordinator before becoming the head coach at Arkansas State, to replace the recently fired Gene Chizik.

Malzahn was the Tigers' offensive coordinator from 2009-11 and helped lead the school to a national championship in 2010.

Aided by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton, Auburn ranked seventh in scoring (41.2 points per game) and fifth in rushing (284.8 yards per game) en route to a 14-0 campaign in 2010 that ended with a victory over Oregon in the BCS Championship Game.

For his efforts, Malzahn received the Broyles Award recognizing the top assistant coach in college football following that season.

"We are tremendously excited that Gus Malzahn will be our next head football coach," said Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs. "Coach Malzahn was the clear unanimous choice of our search committee, and I am pleased that (president) Dr. (Jay) Gogue has accepted our recommendation. This is a great day for Auburn football and Auburn University."

After leaving The Plains to take over the program at Arkansas State in December of 2011, the 47-year-old Malzahn guided Arkansas State to a 9-3 record and a Sun Belt championship in his lone season with the Red Wolves. Arkansas State earned a spot in the Jan. 6 Bowl against Kent State.

"Gus Malzahn is a proven winner," Jacobs said. "He is without question one of the brightest minds in college football and he has won everywhere he has been. Coach Malzahn knows what it takes to build a championship program in the Southeastern Conference. He knows our state and region and he understands what it will take to turn our program around. Coach Malzahn will also be an outstanding ambassador for Auburn University, and that was important to the committee."

Just two years removed from capturing the national title, Auburn went 3-9 and 0-8 in the SEC this season, which led to Chizik's dismissal.

Prior to arriving at Auburn in 2009, Malzahn spent two years as the offensive coordinator at Tulsa (2007-08) and one at Arkansas (2006).