Chizik Making Splash With Coordinator Hire

Gus Malzahn will bring his high-scoring offensive attack to Auburn to run Gene Chizik's offense.

Auburn, Ala.--New Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik will make a big splash with his first coordinator hire. On Sunday he will announce that he is bringing Gus Malzahn of the University of Tulsa to run the Auburn football team's offense.

Malzahn, finishing his second season as assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and co-head coach at The University of Tulsa, will coordinate the Auburn offense and coach the quarterbacks in 2009, Inside the Auburn Tigers has been told. An announcement is expected sometime on Sunday. No other staff announcements are expected on Sunday by Chizik.

Tulsa is ranked No. 2 nationally in scoring and total offense this season with Malzahn directing the high-powered attack. The Golden Hurricane will wrap up its season vs. Ball State at the GMAC Bowl in Mobile on January 6th at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

His team is averaging 565.08 yards per game with 310.23 passing per contest, which is seventh nationally, and 254.85 yards passing per contest, which is eighth nationally.

The Golden Hurricane is averaging 47.38 points per game.

Last season, his first at Tulsa, the team finished first in total offense nationally at 543.9 yards per game and led Conference USA in passing, scoring, TD passes and passing efficiency while finishing 10th in scoring offense. Last year the team set nine school records and 12 individual records while QB Paul Smith set conference records for a single-season for total yards, touchdown responsibility, passing yards and TD passes.

Gene Chizik

Todd Graham, head coach at Tulsa, hired Malzahn at Tulsa. Graham was one of the candidates interviewed for the head coaching vacancy at Auburn that went to Chizik.

A native of Fort Smith, Ark., Malzahn worked as offensive coordinator and receivers coach at Arkansas in 2006. Malzahn spent 14 seasons as a highly successful Arkansas high school head coach before moving into the college ranks.

The 43-year-old was a two-year letterman at receiver and punter for Arkansas in 1984-85 before finishing his career at NAIA Henderson State where he earned his degree in 1990.

Malzahn throws a pass during a drill as offensive coordinator at Arkansas.

In his one season coaching at Fayetteville, the Razorbacks won the SEC West and finished with a 10-4 record. Arkansas was ranked fourth nationally in rushing offense that season.

Prior to coaching on Houston Nutt's staff at Arkansas, he was head coach at nearby Springdale High from 2001-2005 where his final team there finished 14-0 as the Arkansas 5A state champion by outscoring opponents 554-118. His quarterback in 2005, Mitch Mustain, was a consensus All-American. He originally signed with Arkansas before transferring to Southern Cal where he is a backup on the 2008 team.

Another one of his players at Springdale, Damian Williams, signed with Arkansas and transferred to Southern Cal where he is the leading receiver this season for the Trojans with 48 catches for 707 yards and eight touchdowns.

Malzahn's 2002 team at Springdale was the state runnerup. Overall, he has led teams to the state high school title game five times and won three of those contests.

Prior to moving to Springdale High, he coached at another northwest Arkansas high school, Shiloh Christian, where he led the team to state titles in 1998 and 1998. Shiloh Christian is the school that sent current AU linebacker Adam Herring to Auburn. Two of Malzahn's quarterbacks there, Josh Floyd and Rhett Lashley, set national high school passing records.

Malzhan began his coaching career as an assistant at Hughes High in Arkansas in 1991. He was head coach there from 1992-1995. His 1994 team was the state runnerup.

Malzahn is Auburn's second assistant coaching hire for Chizik joining James Willis.

(More to come.)


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