Relationship With Chizik Important to Luper

In an interview with Inside the Auburn Tigers, Auburn's newest assistant coach tells why he made the move to AU.

Stillwater, Okla.--Curtis Luper says the chance to coach with Gene Chizik again played a huge role in his decision to make the move from Oklahoma State to Auburn.

The highly-regarded OSU assistant coach says he will assume the same role on the new coaching staff that Chizik is putting together for the Tigers.

"The opportunity to get back with Coach Chizik was just too much to pass up," Luper tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "And, the chance to get back with him at a great program like Auburn makes it even more special. What makes it even better still is having a chance to coach with Gus Malzahn. It is really a no brainer."

Chizik has hired Gus Malzahn to coordinate the offense and the other on-the-field hire is James Willis, a previous member of the AU staff who has coached linebackers for the Tigers the past three seasons.

As an assistant with the Cowboys, where he played college football, Luper got the chance to work with Larry Fedora, who was the offensive coordinator there before taking over this past season as head coach at Southern Mississippi.

Luper says he considers Malzahn and Fedora two of the brightest offensive minds in football. He notes that he and Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, along with Fedora, ran into Malzahn at a hotel in Dallas and Luper made the comment that there was about 1,200 yards of offense a game represented in the two offensive coordinators.

"We are only an hour away from Tulsa and I am very familiar with what Coach Malzahn has done there," Luper points out. "I have a lot of respect for the job he has done there. People said the first year he did well because of their quarterback, but they did it again this year with another quarterback and have been very impressive."

Luper says he is heading to Auburn as soon as possible. "I will be arriving on Sunday and will be ready to hit the road recruiting," he notes, adding that he just got off the telephone talking about his new job with Malzahn, who is preparing Tulsa for a date with Ball State in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile on Tuesday.

"Coach Malzahn has a phenomenal offensive mind and that is important, but what is also important to me that he is a great person, too," Luper says.

Chizik, who took over as head coach at Auburn before Christmas, has a long relationship with his new assistant. "I started coaching with him in 1995 at Stephen F. Austin when we made a run to the Division I-AA semi-finals," says Luper, who notes that was a enjoyable team to coach.

The two coaches built a strong relationship that has continued over the years. For every job move Luper made, Chizik gave a strong recommendation for Luper and the new Auburn coach says that means a great deal to him.

"I am really excited to be headed to Auburn," Luper says. "Coach Chizik is a great family man, and a great coach. Having the chance to work with him again is something I am really looking forward to doing."

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