Dec. 5, 2013
Auburn's Jay Jacobs is supporting Gus Malzahn (Todd Van Emst)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn is prepared to reward first-year head coach Gus Malzahn with a new contract that will put him in the top half of the highest-paid SEC coaches, Athletics Director Jay Jacobs said Thursday.
That would be one of the rewards of having the biggest turnaround in college football.
"We want Gus to be here as long as he wants to be here," Jacobs said Thursday. "We'll have a deal that is great for him and good for Auburn."
Jacobs also said Malzahn should be the national coach of the year.
Jacobs said the "the president and the board of trustees made it clear we want to get a new deal and do one that's secure for Gus and good for Auburn."
Jacobs called Malzahn "a great ambassador" for Auburn.
"His words and deeds match up," Jacobs said.
Malzahn has turned around Auburn's fortunes, flipping last year's 3-9 record to 11-1 and a berth in Saturday's SEC Championship Game against Missouri in Atlanta on Saturday. He said Malzahn will end up in the top half of the SEC pay chart because "that would seem fair to me."
Jacobs said "you always hope" to have to renegotiate a contract after the first year because it means Auburn has had a successful season.
Jacobs shrugged off talk that Malzahn has been inked to Texas. "As far as I know, Texas has a coach," Jacobs said. Jacobs said he has not talked to Jimmy Sexton, Malzahn's agent. Earlier, he said Malzahn doesn't want to talk about an extension with the SEC Championship Game in the immediate future, and talk of a contract extension will come later.
And as far as coach of the year, Jacobs said Malzahn would be a deserving winner.
"All the guys that are up for the national coach of the year, they all had winning seasons. But what he's done with this group... Not only has he had a winning season like they did, but what he's done with this group that was a lot of broken pieces and pulling them together and getting them the confidence and the trust to buy in the system, that is a remarkable coaching job. Not only him but his nine assistants.
"They mean what they say and they say what they mean and the guys trust them, and they've bought into it. To me, that's where the real coaching comes in."
Jacobs said he'll make sure facilities will make sure "everything is renovated and fresh."
Jacobs also said again that the winner of the Auburn-Missouri game should play for the BCS national championship. He pointed out that Auburn has played four Top 25 teams and is playing in the "best football league in America."
Jacobs said he wouldn't mind playing Alabama again in Pasadena in the BCS title game. "If we're one of them, we're happy to go."
He also said there's a chance Auburn will play at Kansas State on a Thursday night next season if ABC/ESPN pushes for it.
"Nothing has been finalized yet. I'm OK with that," Jacobs said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer on AuburnTigeers. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine