Bo Jackson on Gus: "He Outshined Them All"

Auburn hired Gus Malzahn as its head football coach on Tuesday. Bo Jackson talks about being part of the search committee and what Malzahn brings to the table.

Auburn, Ala.—One of four members of a search committee put together by Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs, legendary Tigers' standout Bo Jackson knew what he was looking for in the next head coach on the Plains.

Wanting someone who was a straight shooter and tough on discipline, Jackson said the group found everything it was looking for in Gus Malzahn.

"It's a great move," Jackson said. "If I'm here right now instead of up north deer hunting it has to be a good move. I think we got the right man for the job. I'm not trying to blow smoke or trying to hype somebody up to be bigger than what they are. We sat down and talked to the guy and we talked to him for two or three hours and we grilled him for two or three hours without any restroom breaks.

"He answered every question and every time he answered a question we became more impressed with him. After we sat down and looked at everybody we interviewed and tallied up all the pluses and minuses, he came out on top plain and simple."

While the offensive style of play and his success, both as an assistant coach and this year as a head coach, were big points of emphasis when looking at Malzahn, Jackson said something that stuck out to him was the attention to detail the new coach had when talking about the players off the field. That's something that has been a concern for many fans when talking about bringing Malzahn back, but Jackson said he has no concerns after talking with Malzahn.

"Everybody knows Gus' style of offense," the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner said. "He's going to get the most out of his players come hell or high water. We need that here. I think one of the things that stood out to me personally is that he's a disciplinarian. We need a little bit of that around here. There are rules set in place by the NCAA that allow these kids to live all over town, but they don't have anybody supervising them.

"Kids will be kids. I was one. When they do something wrong that makes the university look bad and the team look bad, the NCAA isn't there to tell them they're doing the wrong thing. We have to handle that with him proclaiming that he's going to put his foot down, have his rules, and be strict on them. If you break those rules you're going to pay the price. I think that's only fair."

With the Auburn family split among candidates such as Malzahn, Kirby Smart, Jimbo Fisher and Bobby Petrino, pleasing everyone was an impossible task for the members of the search committee. That's something that Jackson said they knew going into things and they just focused on making the right decision for Auburn knowing that things would get better.

"There are always going to be naysayers out there," Jackson said. "Like Jay said earlier, you're going to have differences within a family. When it all ends before the sun goes down we all come back to the fold and we become a family once again. You don't have to like the decision, but you know we will always be a family. I am one of 10 and we fought on a daily basis, but at the end of the day we all sat down at the table and had dinner together."

Having the opportunity to participate in the search is something that Jackson said he didn't take lightly. Putting his time and energy into making the right decision for the future of the program, Jackson noted that being a part of the process was a huge honor for him. Excited about the decision and what Malzahn can do for the Tigers, Jackson said in the end it was an easy decision because of what the new coach brought to the table.

"It meant that the university, Dr. Gogue and Jay Jacobs not only had faith in me, but had faith in Mac Crawford and Pat Sullivan to help them and go out and find the right man for the job," Jackson said of being a part of the search. "It wasn't what I wanted or Mac wanted or Pat wanted or Jay wanted. We sat down and looked at everybody. It wasn't that he had helped win a national championship here. He was the type of guy that out-shined everybody else. We interviewed some stars, but he out-shined them all."

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