Dec. 16, 2013
Auburn's Gus Malzahn adds to another award to his trophy case (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- The honors keep coming for Auburn's Gus Malzahn, who was named the Eddie Robinson national coach of the year Monday.
Malzahn has flipped Auburn's fortunes to a 12-1 record, an SEC Championship and berth in the BCS title game against Florida State on Jan. 6 in Pasadena. He's just the third coach in his first season at a school to win the award in the 57-year history of the honor voted on by the Football Writers Association of America.
Malzahn has also won the Home Depot national coach of the year award as well as being named the SEC coach of the year. He's a finalists for other national coach of the year awards as well.
The Eddie Robinson Award is named in honor of the late long-time Grambling State coach who is the all-time leader in Division I victories. Malzahn, who will accept the award Jan. 4, said it's an honor to win an award named for Robinson.
"I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Robinson and looked up to him as a coach and as an individual," Malzahn said. "I accept this award on behalf of our entire coaching staff and players, which have done an outstanding job this year getting our program turned around."
The Football Writers Association of America was impressed by Auburn's turnaround.
"Certainly, the job Coach Malzahn has done this year warrants this award," said FWAA president Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times in a statement. "It is one of the best turnarounds in college football history and to do it in the first year at a school even adds to the accomplishment."
The Fiesta Bowl is the sponsor of the Robinson Award.
"It takes a special coach to lead a team to the BCS championship game one year after it failed to win a conference game. Coach Malzahn is a fitting recipient of the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award," said bowl executive director Robert Shelton said.
The other first-year coaches to win the Football Writers Association award were Ralph Friedgen of Maryland in 2001 and Tom Cahill of Army in 1966. Malzahn is the second Auburn coach to claim this award, following Terry Bowden in 1993.
The other finalists for this year's award were Baylor's Art Briles, Duke's David Cutcliffe, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Central Florida's George O'Leary, Missouri's Gary Pinkel and Stanford's David Shaw.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine