Auburn fired head coach Gus Malzahn with four seasons remaining on his seven-year, $49 million contract extension, the school announced Sunday.
Malzahn, 55, posted a 68-35 overall record and 39-27 mark in Southeastern Conference play during his eight seasons at the helm. He guided the program to an SEC Championship and BCS National Championship appearance in his first season.
Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will serve as interim head coach for the Tigers, who finished their season with a 6-4 record following a 24-10 win against Mississippi State on Saturday.
“After evaluating the state of the Auburn football program, we’ve decided that it was time to make a change in leadership,” Auburn athletic director Allen Greene said. “We appreciate everything that Gus did for the program over the last eight seasons. We will begin a search immediately for a coach that can help the Auburn program consistently compete at the highest level.”
Auburn said in its release that Malzahn will be paid the remainder of his contract.
Per AL.com, his buyout will be $21,450,000, with 50 percent of that sum owed within 30 days of his termination and the remainder paid in four equal annual installments. His annual salary is $6.9 million, which ranked seventh in the nation and fifth in the SEC behind Alabama’s Nick Saban, LSU’s Ed Orgeron, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Georgia’s Kirby Smart.
Auburn joins Vanderbilt, Arizona and Illinois as having head coaching openings among Power Five conference schools.
“Coach Malzahn led the Auburn football program with honor and integrity,” Auburn president Jay Gogue said in a statement. “We appreciate his service to Auburn Athletics, Auburn University and, in particular, our student-athletes. We wish him and (wife) Kristi all the best.”
–Field Level Media