The Auburn Tigers made huge mistake firing long-time head coach Gus Malzahn last Sunday.
We have not seen a GOB Bluth-level huge mistake this bad since the unmitigated disaster that was the 2017 offseason cycle for the Tennessee Volunteers. Auburn football fans, we are here for you.
Auburn fired former head coach Gus Malzahn last Sunday, a day after he danced the night away in the visiting locker room of Davis Wade Stadium to improve to 6-4. Malzahn was not perfect, but he beat Alabama and Georgia often enough to be the second-longest tenured SEC coach at the time of his termination. Now, Auburn has had at least three candidates turn them down.
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) December 22, 2020
Does anybody want to be the next head coach at Auburn?
Maybe Auburn football legend Kerryon Johnson was right? This is what happens when you fire an excellent head coach the caliber of Malzahn and do not have anybody lined up to replace him. Everybody thought Liberty Flames head coach Hugh Freeze was going to replace Malzahn until he was not. Apparently, the Arkansas State Red Wolves connection between the two ran deep.
If Freeze was the favorite, then Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns head coach Billy Napier was the runner-up. On Monday, he decided he wanted to stay at his emerging Group of 5 power in the Sun Belt than leave for the big job down on The Plains. Since he is a Nick Saban disciple, perhaps Napier is waiting to take over for his mentor in Tuscaloosa when the time comes for the 69-year-old?
The current frontrunner is interim head coach Kevin Steele. While he is beloved as a defensive coordinator and as a recruiter, he was a disaster during his initial run as the Baylor Bears head coach in the early 2000s. You do not fire Malzahn and pay him a $21 million buyout to promote a defensive coordinator from within who won a single Big 12 game over four years at Baylor!
With UAB Blazers head coach Bill Clark turning them down on Monday night, what does that tell you? A guy would rather stay at a Conference USA program that punted on having a football team for a season before bringing it back. This is the third-best job in Alabama, but again, Clark has a good thing going at his Group of 5 school. At this point, who will be coaching Auburn next year?
Outside of Steele, other candidates include Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, Clemson Tigers offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown. What if former Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp resurfaces?
Ultimately, there are no winners here, only the fans of Auburn’s biggest SEC rivals.