"I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Robinson and looked up to him as a coach and as an individual," Malzahn said. "I accept this award on behalf of our entire coaching staff and players, which have done an outstanding job this year getting our program turned around."
Malzahn is just the fourth coach in the 57-year history of the honor to win it in his first season at a school, joining Tom Cahill of Army in 1966, Ralph Friedgen of Maryland in 2001 and Terry Bowden from Auburn in 1993.
The other finalists for this year's award were Baylor's Art Briles, Duke's David Cutcliffe, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Central Florida's George O'Leary, Missouri's Gary Pinkel and Stanford's David Shaw.
Malzahn has now won four coach of the year awards following the 2013 season after being named the Home Depot Coach of the Year and the SEC Coach of the Year by both the Associated Press and the league's coaches.
"Certainly, the job Coach Malzahn has done this year warrants this award," said FWAA President Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times. "It is one of the best turnarounds in college football history and to do it in the first year at a school even adds to the accomplishment."
Auburn finished 2012 with a 3-9 record. The Tigers will take a 12-1 mark into the national championship game to face 13-0 FSU on Jan. 6th in Pasadena.
"In his first season at the helm at Auburn, Gus Malzahn authored one of the great turnarounds in college football history," said Robert Shelton of the Fiesta Bowl, which co-sponsors the award. "It takes a special coach to lead a team to the BCS championship game one year after it failed to win a conference game. Coach Malzahn is a fitting recipient of the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award."