AUBURN, Ala. — Young Rhett Lashlee’s salary this year is less than what former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik makes in two weeks.
No longer. Lashlee is now in charge of an SEC offense.
Auburn announced Friday Lashlee, 29, will in fact be pried away from Arkansas State along with his boss and mentor.
Rhett is one of the best young offensive minds in college football,” Gus Malzahn said. “I’ve been with Rhett a long time and he’s been an incredibly valuable right-hand man. He has a great knowledge and understanding of Auburn and will be a tremendous asset for this program both on and off the field.”
Gus Malzahn continues to move quickly, after officially hiring former Southern Miss head coach Ellis Johnson earlier Thursday to become Auburn’s defensive coordinator. Johnson, 60, is more than double Lashlee’s age.
Malzahn said at his introductory press conference Tuesday he wasn’t sure whether he or his offensive coordinator will call plays. Lashlee, who played quarterback for Malzahn at Shiloh Christian (Ark.) High School (the alma mater of Auburn sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier), is entering his third season as an offensive coordinator at three different schools.
“We’re very excited to be back in Auburn to rejoin this program and the Auburn family, which has the best fans in the country” Lashlee said. “I’m looking forward to working with Coach Malzahn and help get this team headed in the right direction and return to winning football. Auburn holds a special place in my family’s heart, as this is where our twin boys were born, so we are blessed to be back. I’m excited to get to work.”
Just as this is a homecoming for Malzahn, Lashlee returns to the school where he earned his Masters degree in Higher Education in 2009, and served as an offensive graduate assistant from 2009-10. He went to Samford in 2011, then joined Malzahn at Arkansas State this year and helped the Red Wolves to a 9-3 record, the Sun Belt title and 17th-rated total offense nationally.
Lashlee replaces Scot Loeffler, who was dismissed Thursday after one year with the rest of the outgoing Auburn assistants. According to open records requests unfolded by ArkansasSports360.com, Lashlee made $90,000 last year at Arkansas State.
Loeffler’s salary was $500,000. He will be bought out his base salary until the expiration of his contract in 2014.
Malzahn also reportedly is bringing in Ryan Russell from Arkansas State as strength and conditioning coach, replacing 14-year veteran Kevin Yoxall.
Russell, 32, was an assistant to Yoxall from 2009-10, and a graduate assistant on the strength and conditioning staff at Auburn from 2005-06. He received a Master’s in Adult Education from Auburn in December 2006.