Malzahn: Waiting for 'right time, place'

Published Dec. 15, 2010 12:00 a.m. ET

Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn says he is waiting for the ''right time, right place'' to become a head coach.

Vanderbilt apparently wasn't that place.

Malzahn would not talk about the Vanderbilt head coaching position in an interview Wednesday, but said that he does want to run his own program ''somewhere down the line.''

''If it's the right time, right place,'' he said.

The 45-year-old Malzahn agreed to a new contract with the Tigers on Monday after withdrawing his name from consideration for the Vandy job and says he's got a ''great situation'' with Auburn, which is gearing up for the national championship game against Oregon. Auburn will ''more than double'' his $500,000 salary, according to a person familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity since he wasn't authorized to discuss the new deal.

''I'm tickled to death to be here,'' Malzahn said.'' I'm looking forward to coaching in the national championship game, and that's the only thing on my mind.''

Malzahn has received the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant and his star pupil, quarterback Cam Newton, won the Heisman Trophy.


The Tigers open practice Saturday for the Jan. 10 game in Glendale, Ariz.

A former high school coach in Arkansas, Malzahn is only in his fifth year in the college ranks, starting with a one-year stint as offensive coordinator at Arkansas and two years with Tulsa.

Gene Chizik brought him to Auburn after his own hiring two years ago.

''God has really blessed me. I don't understand it,'' Malzahn said. ''It just seems like God's put me in the right situation at the right time, time and time again. In high school, I got a chance to coach great players. At Arkansas, I got a chance to coach Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis, maybe the best backfield in college history.

''Then I got a chance to go to Tulsa, where we had two great quarterbacks with a lot of good skill guys. Then I come to Auburn, and it's set up the same way -- the chance to coach Cam Newton.''