Auburn Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn Explains Why He Hired Chip Lindsey to Direct the Offense

Auburn's head football coach talks about his search for an offensive coordinator, which led to Chip Lindsey accepting a three-year deal at Auburn to leave Arizona State.

Auburn, Ala.--Gus Malzahn said after hiring Chip Lindsey that he did not have any problem considering a new coordinator who doesn’t run the exact same offense that he has developed during more than two decades coaching football.

On Saturday the head coach of the Auburn Tigers announced that Arizona State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Chip Lindsey, will have the same assignment at Auburn. Lindsey replaces Rhett Lashlee, who made a move to coordinate the offense at UConn.

Lindsey accepted a three-year deal at Auburn worth $700,000 a year, not including the potential for performance bonuses.

“Last week I obviously started looking for an offensive coordinator and I really started out with three things,” Malzahn said. “I just felt like I needed to find somebody that could develop and evaluate quarterbacks. I felt like I needed somebody that I would feel comfortable turning over the offense to.

“I felt like I needed somebody that had a fit within the same philosophy--no huddle, run/play-action,” he said. “That is really where I started.

“I had a really open mind, talked to numerous people. I wanted to take my time, by design, and if you look at our defensive coordinator I did the same thing when we hired Kevin Steele last year.

“Bottom line is I was looking for the best person for this job that would give us the best chance at being successful,”?Malzahn said. “Chip Lindsey fit all three. I have actively seen him develop quarterbacks--he is very good at that. He is very good at evaluating quarterbacks. I feel very comfortable with Chip. I?have got a lot of trust that he can do it, and then he fits within my philosophy. The thing with Chip is he had his own offense that he has been very successful with.”

Lindsey worked on Malzahn’s 2013 staff as an offensive analyst. That helped him land a job the next season as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Southern Miss in 2014 and 2015. He moved to Arizona State to do the same thing in 2016.

“He was with me a year and he understands the core philosophy,”?Malzahn said. “I am very excited about him coming in and kind of spicing up our offense, but I got a lot of confidence in him and I’m very excited that Chip Lindsey is our offensive coordinator.”

Commenting on the timing of the hire, which came 10 days after Lashlee left, Malzahn said, “I’ll take you back, I had a very open mind. I was wanting to hire the best person for this position.

“I was looking for somebody that fits these three things. I really started out by just trying to find everybody that fit those three things then kind of figure out who I would like to talk to. I talked to some very good people, very talented people. At the end of the day, Chip Lindsey is the guy that fit these three that I felt very comfortable with and gives us the best chance of being successful.

“Chip is in a similar situation that I was when I came here in 2009,” Malzahn said of his first time at Auburn when Gene Chizik hired him to be offensive coordinator. “I think I had three years (college coordinator) experience before I came here. He’s actually got one more than me. At the end of the day, there wasn’t an exact time. I just wanted to make sure I have the best guy. When I came to that conclusion, we hired Chip Lindsey.”

Malzahn emphasized that Lindsey will have control of the offense, doing the same things he did at Southern Miss and Arizona State.

Asked if was reluctant to hire a coordinator who wasn’t part of his coaching tree like Lashlee was, Malzahn said, “Really, this was the first time since I’ve been a head coach that I’ve actively had an offensive coordinator job open so I really just tried to take a step back. My goal was to find the best person for this job so I started out with those three parameters that I talked about and just had a very open mind.

“I wanted to talk to as many people as I could to get the right guy,” he added. “I talked to numerous guys, like I said, and it just came back to Chip. I’ve got a lot of trust. He’s ready for the job.”

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