Auburn's annual Big Cat Weekend is expected to again attract several dozen bluechip prospects to the Auburn campus on Saturday. The coach notes that he is looking forward to the event.
"This is a big weekend," Malzahn said. "Big Cat is something we have done for the last five or six years. It is has been very successful. Our coaches are extremely excited. I think a lot of the recruits are, too."
Auburn has painted the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium for Big Cat Weekend to commemorate last season's big wins over Georgia and Alabama
The event features fun competitions featuring the recruits like juggling, eating contests and plenty of one on one time with the coaching staff.
"It is not your normal recruiting, it is more getting to know each other," Malzahn said. "It is more hanging out. Coaches bring their families. It is a relaxed, laid back time where they can really see our coaching staff as normal people--fathers and everything with that."
Earlier this week members of the 2014 signee class reported to campus where they are taking classes and doing workouts with Coach Ryan Russell's strength and conditioning staff.
"That is really big," the coach said. "They get extra time to train. There will be quite a few of those guys helping us out in the fall so I think it is very critical to get those guys working out and get used to the college routine."
While the new players were getting situated on campus the head coach was at the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla., which he said was productive. "Any time you get together with other coaches and share ideas it is always a positive," he said.
On Friday the Auburn coach was presented the Coach of the Year Award from the United States Sports Academy. Dr. Arthur Ogden, a former assistant athletic director at Auburn University from 1995-2001, said he was excited to return to Auburn to make the formal presentation.
Previously, Malzahn won the AP, Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden, Eddie Robinson, Home Depot, Liberty Mutual, SB Nation and Sporting News national coach of the year awards in addition to being named the SEC Coach of the Year by AP and the league's coaches.
"It is very humbling to get awards like this," Malzahn said. "Any time you get individual awards it is a team thing with our staff, our players, our administration. We are all in this thing together."
Ogden, who is chairman of sports management for the United States Sports Academy, said that Malzahn is very deserving of the award that is presented annually to a prominent, American male coach.
"Gus Malzahn is a man," Dr. Ogden said. "In today's culture, you will understand this, there is a plethora of males floating around there, but there are not too many men. I think you know what I mean.
"Men prize dedication and diligence as the path to success," he added. "Men do not compromise principle for expedience and men understand that when honest preparation meets and recognizes opportunity the result is unparalleled success. In my estimation that sums up Gus Malzahn, a coach yes, but a man definitively."