Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn reportedly has a dream job–and it’s in Texas. Malzahn is responsible for one of the most incredible turnarounds in college football, taking an Auburn team that went winless in conference play a year ago to the SEC title game this weekend against Missouri. Auburn made it to Atlanta after dethroning Alabama last Saturday in an Iron Bowl for the ages.
If the Texas coaching job, which is one of the five best in college football, opens, the Longhorns may pursue Malzahn, especially since they will probably not get Alabama head coach Nick Saban, whose wife recently declared that they were staying in Tuscaloosa.
Malzahn, the former high school coach who became offensive coordinator at Arkansas last decade and started the trend that became known as the “Wildcat” (or “Wild Hog”), later became Auburn’s offensive coordinator under coach Gene Chizik. Malzahn’s play-calling, along quarterback Cam Newton’s talents, was largely responsible for the program’s national championship in 2010, which they won over Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. Malzahn would bring his state-of-the-art and not-yet-patented “Hurry Up, No Huddle” offense to a Texas squad that is in need of innovation.
Though Malzahn and Auburn will reportedly talk about a contract extension at the end of the season, a Sports Illustrated report indicates that Malzahn has told his friends that his dream job is in Austin, Texas, which could complicate things if the Longhorns come courting:
But as great as things are for Malzahn on the Plains right now, here’s a piece of advice for the Tigers coach: Get out of Auburn as fast as you can.
There’s an expectation that the Texas job will open in the next few weeks. According to a source, Malzahn has told friends privately that coaching the Longhorns is his dream job. If confronted with the choice between Auburn and Austin, it’s a no-brainer move for Malzahn to bolt. The best job in the Big 12 is a much more stable place than The Plains, as even a play-caller of Malzahn’s acumen isn’t likely to make adjustments to historical trends.
History tells us that Auburn coaches — no matter how successful — don’t have long and stable professional careers. Just ask Terry Bowden, who started 11-0 in 1993. Or Tommy Tuberville, who went 13-0 in 2004 after a failed coup to hire Bobby Petrino. Or Gene Chizik, who got fired two seasons after going 14-0 and winning the national title.
Eventually, serendipity meets reality. The pendulum of good fortune swings the other way. Charmed runs meet market corrections. There’s a lot about the way this season unfolded that has been a unicorn. And unicorns don’t often travel in packs.