Grilling Gus: Committee Members Discuss Hire

Members of Auburn's search committee tell Inside the Auburn Tigers why they chose Gus Malzahn to take over as AU's new head football coach.

Auburn, Ala.--Members of the search committee choosing Auburn's new head football coach all told Inside the Auburn Tigers they grilled Gus Malzahn and other candidates for the AU job so they could find the best man for the job.

"We were unanimously impressed by the way he answered our tough questions," said committee member Bo Jackson. "We actually hit him from every side and he came out of it just fine."

Asked what he liked about Malzahn, the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner said, "He brings the tenacity, he brings the courage and he brings the will to get better."

Jackson added, "I remind the Auburn Family out there this is going to be a process. Don't expect anybody to come here and look to win nine, 10 or 11 games next year. If we do that, even I will be shocked."

The former running back added he wants the Tigers to get back to traditional Auburn hard-nosed football. "We have to hit first and we have to hit last," Jackson said. "He brings that to the table. His record proves it."

Gus Malzahn speaks to the Auburn team prior to his press conference on Tuesday night.

Pat Sullivan, the 1971 Heisman Trophy winner, agreed with Jackson that the committee asked a lot of tough questions before AU signed Malzahn to a five-year deal worth $2.3 million a year.

"I felt like we didn't leave any stone unturned," Sullivan said. "We were all committed to try to find the best guy for Auburn we could find. When we met with Gus it kind of felt right. As we continued our process, I guess the simple way to say it is he is the one at the end of day to get Auburn where we want it to get to."

Crawford, a fullback for the Tigers who played with Sullivan, said, "He stood up to the questions. He answered them. We had a lot of questions about the discipline issue--the character and how you are going to address them.

"I think we all thought he was a good football coach, but when you go through all of this you are looking to develop young men, you are looking to develop a winning team," Crawford said. "At the end of the day, after we evaluated everybody, he stood out as having the ability to do that."

Crawford added, "The familiarity to Auburn was obviously a plus. That was one of the boxes that you check. I will say he exceeded my expectations. He really did and I think he will continue to exceed everybody's expectations."

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