MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Gus Malzahn is staying at Auburn, putting an end to the questions about his future.
The football coach has agreed to a new seven-year deal to remain at the school after a strong late-season rebound, said a person with knowledge of the situation.
Complete financial details were not immediately available but the person said Malzahn will make more than $7 million in the final year of the contract. The person spoke with The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because Auburn had not announced details of the new deal.
The university said in a statement Sunday night that Malzahn and Auburn officials have “agreed to the broad outlines of a new contract extending his leadership of the Tigers” and expect to finalize the details over the next few days.
“Strength and stability go hand-in-hand, and we have both in coach Malzahn,” Auburn President Steven Leath said in a statement. “We’re excited for the future of Auburn football. This means a lot to the Auburn family.”
Malzahn led the seventh-ranked Tigers into the Southeastern Conference championship game but had faced repeated questions about whether he was interested in the vacant Arkansas job in his home state. No. 7 Auburn (10-3, No. 7 College Football Playoff rankings) will face No. 10 UCF (12-0, No. 12) in the Peach Bowl on Jan. 1.
“I’m planning on being at Auburn,” Malzahn said earlier Sunday, declining to address contract negotiations or the Arkansas job. A Peach Bowl official eventually cut off questions unrelated to the game.
The coach received a one-year extension but no raise after last season. He was making about $4.725 million annually in a deal running through 2020.
The new deal was first reported by 247Sports.
Malzahn led Auburn to victories over teams that were No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings at the time, Georgia and Alabama . Both those teams made it to the playoffs and the Bulldogs beat Auburn 28-7 in the SEC title game Saturday in Atlanta.
The Tigers had won five straight games after a loss to LSU, vaulting into playoff contention. Auburn was 2-2 against playoff teams, including a 14-6 defeat at No. 1 Clemson in the second game.
Malzahn is in his fifth season at Auburn and is 45-21. He led the Tigers to the national title game in 2013, his first season. Auburn went 23-16 over the next three seasons and lost three straight meetings with both Georgia and Alabama.
The program may have turned the corner this season with a strong defense and the emergence of quarterback Jarrett Stidham and tailback Kerryon Johnson.
Malzahn had talked in recent weeks about how much more stable the program is at this point after a series of highly rated recruiting classes.