AUBURN, Ala. – Seven things you should know about Gus Malzahn:
1) So Malzahn will make $2.3 million in base salary next year. He’s signed for five years. We know that much, and little more. (His contract was not made available to reporters Tuesday night.)
That figure nearly triples his Arkansas State salary ($855,210), but is less than double his dollar amount when he was Auburn’s offensive coordinator in 2011 after being richly rewarded for the championship year.
Two other coaches whose 2012 salary was $2.3 million: Bill O’Brien, Penn State. Charlie Strong, Louisville. Things that make you go hmmmm…
Nine of the 14 SEC coaches into 2012 – including, yes, Gene Chizik – made more than $2.3 million.
2) Chizik’s wife, Jonna, was outspoken, drawing headlines for a bizarre Facebook post this year which cried for help to restore the players’ spirit and well-being … which may or may not have, um, mentioned a certain red-horned adversarial deity whose name rhymes with Saban.
Think that was weird? Has to be mentioned: Malzahn’s wife, Kristi, had her own eye-raising experience in the public eye, which was murmured to have affected Gus Malzahn’s process of obtaining his first head coaching job last year.
3) Malzahn’s daughters, Kylie and Kenzie, attend Auburn and Arkansas State, respectively. They were both on hand supporting Dad Tuesday night at the Rane Room.
4) Malzahn is unsure whether he’ll coach Arkansas State’s GoDaddy.com Bowl against Kent State … “but I will say this,” Malzahn added, “I am 100 percent committed to Auburn and getting this thing going as soon as possible.”
Translation: Sorry, A-State. Auburn’s paying you nearly three-quarters of a million to take your coach. They’ll need him now. Figure it out.
5) Hey, Bo Jackson, why’d you and the committee settle on Malzahn, other than the university saving a few bucks on nametags for the team meet-and-greet since he basically already knows everybody in pads?
“He brings tenacity. He brings courage. And he brings the will to get better,” Bo said. “You’ve got those intangibles in your corner, you will be successful.
Disclaimer alert …
“But I remind the Auburn family out there: this is going to be a process,” Jackson said. “Don’t expect anybody to come here and win 9, 10, 11 games next year. If they do that, even I will be shocked. We’ve got to get back to basics.”
6) Too early to look at the 2013 schedule? Nah.
Sept. 7, 2013. Look who’s coming to town. Arkansas State, Auburn, Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“Yeah, how about that?” Malzahn said, drawing a laugh from the crowd and a slight grimace to his face. “Yeah, that’s pretty ironic how that works. They’re going to be a very good team.”
7) Malzahn finished his press conference, shook about 1,400 hands among the well-wishers, retreated to his new office (no word on whether he’s moved into Chizik’s digs yet) and went to work.
Five-star defensive tackle recruit Dee Liner tweeted the following:
Just got off the phone wit my new head coach! I Feel a whole lot better about everything! WDE!!
— Dee Liner (@Liner_25) December 5, 2012
At 10:41 p.m. CT.
About two hours after the Rane Room cleared out.
Yeaaaah. Sorry, A-State. Malzahn belongs to Auburn now. And it appears the weary won’t be requiring much rest. But more on that later.