Third-year Auburn assistant coach Gus Malzahn will be taking his first collegiate head coaching job at Arkansas State University and he will be announced as head coach of the Red Wolves on Wednesday.
Malzahn signed an agreement on Wednesday night to be the next head coach of the Red Wolves. He will stay on the Auburn staff long enough to coach the Tigers in their New Year's Eve bowl game vs. Virginia.
The Arkansas State job has been vacant since Hugh Freeze was hired by Ole Miss. Arkansas State, which posted a 10-2 record and will play Northern Illinois on January 8th in the Go Daddy.com Bowl, has scheduled a press conference for 3:30 p.m. CST on Wednesday to introduce its head coach.
Malzahn began his college coaching career at the University of Arkansas as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in 2006 after a successful run as a high school coach at Hughes, Ark., High, Shiloh Christian in Springdale, Ark., and Springdale, Ark., High. He is a native of Fort Smith, Ark., and very well known in high school football circles in that state.
He was offensive coordinator at Tulsa in 2007-2008 before joining Chizik's staff at Auburn in 2009 as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. His prolific offenses at Tulsa attracted Chizik's attention soon after he took over as head coach of the Tigers.
Chizik is currently doing a search to replace defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Ted Roof. Chizik is serving as the interim defensive coordinator as Auburn prepares to play Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve.
Following Tuesday's practice, Chizik said he had a plan in place in case he lost Malzahn to a head coaching position. "Gus and I have a great relationship and we have had several discussions about moving forward in his career and what his goals are, but, at the end of the day, the decisions he makes are up to him," Chizik said.
"I am sure he will make the best decision for him and his family, but we are very open when we talk about it. If an opportunity arises, I am sure he will do what is best for him and his family just like I did."
In addition to being the position coach for 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, Malzahn was named the winner of the Broyles Award that season as the nation's top assistant coach, an award Chizik had previously won.