College football notebook: Malzahn back at Auburn
Arkansas State coach won title with Tigers in ’10
The memory of that crystal-ball run from two years ago is forever engrained in the minds of every Auburn player, coach and fan.
A chief catalyst of that title glory is coming back, to the delight of many Auburn supporters.
Former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, who championed quarterback Cam Newton and the Tigers to the national championship in 2010, was welcomed back with open arms yesterday to become Auburn’s head coach, following a successful one-year stop at Arkansas State.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to become the head football coach at Auburn,” Malzahn said in a statement. “It’s an outstanding institution with a storied football program that I had the pleasure of experiencing firsthand for three years. …“This is a homecoming for me, and I look forward to being reunited with the Auburn family.”
Malzahn replaces his former boss, Gene Chizik, who was fired nine days ago after Auburn’s 3-9 season — the first year following Malzahn’s departure.
In 2010, Newton won the Heisman Trophy under Malzahn in an offense that set nine school records. Those included average scoring (41.2) and yards (499.2), along with 41 rushing touchdowns and 31 passing TDs.
In his first year as a head coach, Malzahn led Arkansas State to a 9-3 record and Sun Belt championship, winning his last seven games and leading the Red Wolves to a spot in the GoDaddy.com Bowl against Kent State on Jan. 6.
Upon landing at Auburn University Regional Airport just after 7 last night, Malzahn was greeted by a few hundred visitors.
“We’re going to get back to winning championships,” he told the fans.
Report: Kent State’s Hazell hired by Purdue
Coach Darrell Hazell, who led Kent State to an 11-2 record and its first bowl game since 1972, has accepted the coaching job at Purdue, sources told ESPN.
Hazell will replace Danny Hope, who was fired after compiling a 22-27 record over four years with the Boilermakers.
Hazell, who went 16-9 in two seasons at Kent State, previously served as Ohio State’s wide receivers coach and assistant head coach from 2005 to 2010.
The Golden Flashes have a team meeting scheduled for this morning, sources told ESPN.
Hazell was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Flashes (11-2) to their first winning season since 2001.
Purdue (6-6) will play Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan. 1.
Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst said he’s committed to sticking with the Panthers.
Chryst issued a statement last night saying he’s focusing on getting Pitt ready for the BBVA Compass Bowl against Mississippi next month and not on speculation that he could be on Wisconsin’s short list to replace Bret Bielema, who left to take the coaching job at Arkansas.
Chryst played quarterback for Wisconsin in the 1980s and spent seven seasons as an assistant coach under Bielema before being hired by Pittsburgh in December 2011. • Coach Steve Addazio accepted the coaching position at Boston College after just two seasons at Temple. Addazio, who just months ago said he would be at Temple for the long haul, was not available for comment and did not return repeated phone calls. • Charlie Strong, who has led Louisville to bowl games in each of his three years, reportedly is the front-runner for the Tennessee coaching job, according to ESPN.com.