Malzahn Has Message For High School Coaches

Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn spoke to high school coaches at the AHSAA Super Six Kickoff Dinner Wednesday night.

Auburn, Ala.—New Auburn coach Gus Malzahn admitted that he's had little sleep since being introduced as the 26th head coach in Tigers history on Tuesday night, but it didn't keep him from making an appearance Wednesday night at the AHSAA Super Six Kickoff Banquet at the Auburn University Student Center.

Talking and shaking hands for close to 30 minutes before getting up to speak following an introduction by Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs, Malzahn said it was important for him to stop in and talk to coaches from around the state and welcome them to Auburn.

"It has been a very fast 24 hours and I'm tickled to death to be here," Malzahn said. "I heard this was going on with the Super Six here and I wanted to come over and say hi. It's great to see so many familiar faces. I was here for three years and I left almost a year ago. That was a real special time for me."

Vigor Coach Kerry Stevenson and Gus Malzahn

The championship games will begin Thursday at 11 a.m. when Fayette County and Madison Academy square off in the 3A title game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The first of six classifications that will be decided over two days is a good way to kick off the festivities, something Malzahn said is as good as it gets in the coaching profession.

"Being a former high school coach this is the best time of the year," Malzahn said. "Being a high school coach for 15 years, the best memories I have coaching football have been in state championship games.

"People ask me what it's like to coach in a national championship or SEC Championship? That's really special, but let me tell you, being a high school coach in the week preparing for a state championship is unbelievable. The whole community has come together. It's just a really special thing."

Those high school roots are something that Malzahn carries with him wherever he goes and it's something he said he'll always treasure. Even though he made the move to the big-time coaching major college football he said in the end the goal is still the same, to impact lives.

"We're in this thing to influence young men and young women in a positive way," Malzahn said. "We have great influence. I want to encourage you to use your influence in a positive way and the Lord will reward you. I look at myself...the Lord has truly blessed me. It's a true honor for me to be the head coach of the Auburn Tigers."

Knowing the importance of building relationships with high school coaches down the line for recruiting purposes, Malzahn had a special message for everyone in attendance as they prepare for two days on the Plains. He said he didn't want that to be the last time they were in town this year.

"Our doors are open," Malzahn said. "We want y'all to be welcome to come over. We want the high school football coaches to talk ball, come watch our spring practice and really be a part of everything we do. It's a true honor for me to be here tonight. War Eagle!"

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