Auburn, Ala.--Gus Malzahn has another vacancy on his 2017 Auburn football staff with his offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, Rhett Lashlee, accepting a position as offensive coordinator for the UConn Huskies.
The Huskies’ new head coach, Randy Edsall, made the announcement on Wednesday after hiring four other staff members on Monday.
“It’s probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve made, definitely in my professional career,” Lashlee said. “Auburn’s very dear to us. I’ve spent a total of six years here, two different times. All four of our kids were born here. We just love everything about Auburn. The Auburn family is always going to be very dear to us and a part of us.
“The opportunity to work for Randy Edsall, who has had success at a high level and success at UConn, and just have the opportunity to run the offense, and that’s something he’s given me to do. I’m grateful for that.
“I’m obviously very close with Coach Malzahn. Our relationship will always be good. He’s been very supportive. I’m very appreciative to him for the opportunity he gave me at Auburn.”
Lashlee has been on Malzahn’s staff since Malzahn took over as head coach of the Tigers following the 2012 season when Gene Chizik was fired. Prior to that Lashlee was offensive coordinator with Malzahn for one season at Arkansas State.
Lashlee began his coaching career at 2006 at the University of Arkansas where he was a quarterback. He joined the Auburn staff as a graduate assistant in 2009-2010 under Malzahn, who was the offensive coordinator for the Tigers during those seasons.
Lashlee moved to Birmingham for the 2011 campaign where he was offensive coordinator for Coach Pat Sullivan before joining his former high school coach in Jonesboro, Ark., when Malzahn got his first college head coaching job at Arkansas State.
Lashlee coached Nick Marshall at Auburn, who set an Auburn record for the most passing yards in a game with 456 vs. Alabama in 2014. Marshall's 214 rushing yards tied Bobby Hunt for the third most by an Auburn quarterback, five behind the record set in 1946 by Travis Tidwell and three behind Cam Newton's 214 in a 2010 contest.
Marshall is fourth in school history in average passing yards per game at 173.38 and eight in total passing yards with 4,508. He is 10th in total completions with 320, third in yards per pass attempt (8.474), seventh in yards per completion, fifth in completion percentage (60.2), third in lowest interception percentage (0.244) and second in passing efficiency (147.53).
Previously for this season, Malzahn had to replace Wesley McGriff, who was hired away from his job as AU’s secondary coach to become defensive coordinator at Ole Miss. That replacement, Greg Brown, arrived in Auburn on Wednesday, the first day of spring semester classes.
Rhett Lashlee is shown prior to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Lashlee earned a marketing degree in 2006 at Arkansas and in 2009 added a master's in higher education at auburn. He and his wife Lauren, have twin sons, Thomas and Hudson, plus twin daughters, Rowyne and Scarlet.
Whoever takes over the offense and QB coaching duties will be overseeing what looks to be a serious challenge to the returning starter, Sean White, who is currently in a cast while recovering from a broken bone in his forearm suffered in the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma. With White's availability for spring practice in doubt newcomer Jarrett Stidham, a transfer from Baylor, redshirt freshman Woody Barrett plus newcomer Malik Willis, an early high school graduate who started AU classes on Wednesday, are expected to be in the mix along with Tyler Queen, who was limited in 2016 due to a shoulder injury.