Auburn didn’t bother waiting until after the Southeastern Conference championship game to give football coach Gus Malzahn a new six-year contract worth $3.85 million annually.
Athletic director Jay Jacobs announced the first-year coach’s new deal Friday night, the eve of the third-ranked Tigers’ game against No. 5 Missouri in Atlanta.
Malzahn has led Auburn to an 11-1 season after taking over a team that won three games and lost all eight SEC contests in 2012.
"As I’ve said before, we want coach Malzahn to be at Auburn for a long time," Jacobs said. "The new contract includes a raise and extension and is our statement that Auburn is committed to coach Malzahn for the long haul. While this season has been remarkable, I’m equally excited about the future of our program under his leadership. The future of Auburn football is very bright."
The present is pretty bright, too.
Auburn hired Malzahn last December and gave him a five-year contract worth $2.3 million annually. The new deal represents a $1.5 million pay hike and includes a $250,000 raise each year. Malzahn will make $5.1 million in the final year of the contract.
Auburn is in line to play in the Sugar Bowl and possibly for a national championship with a win over Missouri. Malzahn’s Tigers upset No. 1 Alabama last weekend.
University President Dr. Jay Gogue said he and Jimmy Rane, president pro tem of Auburn’s board of trustees, supported Jacobs’ recommendation to give Malzahn the big raise and six-year deal.
"A lot of programs would love to have coach Malzahn, so this is a good move that allows him to continue taking Auburn football where our fans want it," Gogue said.
Malzahn has a chance to win a league title in each of his first two seasons as head coach. The former Auburn offensive coordinator led Arkansas State to a Sun Belt Conference championship last season before returning to replace his ex-boss, Gene Chizik
He was offensive coordinator for Auburn’s 2010 team that won the national title and Malzahn’s star pupil, Cam Newton, captured the Heisman Trophy.
Jacobs said earlier this week that he had reached out to Malzahn’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, a couple of weeks ago. He said Thursday that he and Sexton hadn’t spoken since.