Monday, November 9, 2009

Former, Current AU Coaches Are HC Possibilities

With November upon us, struggling teams begin to weigh their head coaching options. Just 11 months ago, Tommy Tuberville was seemingly nudged out of the way in Auburn to make room for a fresh, new staff. Now teams that are in similar situations to the 2008 Tigers are beginning to scout their options. lists the top 10 hottest seats for NCAA football coaches with first year Hawaii head man Greg McMackin at number one. Today came the news that number five on the list, Tommy West of Memphis, would not be returning next season.

None of Auburn's coaches were on the coaching staff last year and a few shake ups could occur again this season. Current assistants for the Tigers have had their names rumored to be the next rookie head coach pretty much all season.

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn gained instant attention this season with Auburn, jumping out to a 5-0 start and being ranked near the top in most offensive categories. Malzahn, just four years removed of being a high school head coach, has been dubbed an offensive mastermind and has had his name float around Memphis and Louisville of late. Gus led the nation in total offense in 2007 and 2008 while offensive coordinator at Tulsa. He rose to fame after being hired out of Springdale High School (AK) by Houston Nutt to head the Arkansas Razorbacks' offense. While there, he got immediate attention running the 'Wildcat' formation with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones and helping lead the Razorbacks to their fourth ever SEC West championship.

Another Auburn assistant who will get serious looks, according to, is wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor. The young coach has gained an instant cult-like following at Auburn with his sideline energy and the sale of the "Trooper Towel". Taylor, also the assistant head coach, is a stud recruiter bringing in starting safety Daren Bates and potential future star wide receiver DeAngelo Benton in 2009 and three of Auburn's top 2010 commitments. Trooper played defensive back for the Baylor Bears and has since coached at Baylor, New Mexico, Tulane, Tennessee and Oklahoma State, coaching possibly the best receiver in the nation in Dez Bryant.

Auburn has been a stepping stone to head coaching jobs in recent years. Last season's defensive coordinator, Paul Rhoads, took over the head coaching job at Iowa State after Gene Chizik's departure and has the Cyclones at 5-5 right now looking to make their first bowl since 2005. Chizik himself left Auburn after 2004 to lead the Texas Longhorns' defense to a National Championship in 2005 and then took over as head coach at Iowa State in 2007. Will Muschamp left the Tigers after the 2007 season to become defensive coordinator for the Longhorns and now appears to be the head coach in waiting.

Auburn's previous two head coaches, Tommy Tuberville and Terry Bowden, have also been rumored for some of the Division I jobs. Tuberville has spent this season working with ESPN and relaxing with family while waiting for a tempting head coaching job to open. Terry Bowden jumped back into head coaching this season for the first time since 1998, which was his last season at Auburn. Bowden had the North Alabama Lions football team at 10-0, ranked number one in the nation in Division II until losing Saturday to West Alabama in four overtimes.
It remains to be seen if Gus Malzahn would leave Auburn after just one season. It seems inevitable for Malzahn to be a great head coach but the job has to fit him. I do not believe Tommy Tuberville would be a good fit at Memphis either and I would expect him to hold off for a school such as Virginia, if Al Groh is let go after an underwhelming stint with the Cavaliers. Tuberville has also been rumored to be quite interested in the possibility of coaching at UCF.

Memphis seems to have real interest in Trooper Taylor but in recent interviews Taylor seems to want to stay put in Auburn for a while. I feel pretty good about keeping the key members of the current Auburn staff together for at least one more season.


  1. I would hope that Malzahn would nip these rumors in the bud quickly. Much of our recruiting success this year so far has hinged on him being at Auburn and it certainly wouldn't be ethical or fair to bolt after one year considering the opportunity Chizik has given him to bolster his resume and help build a program. JMO

  2. hey beav you've got a lot of stuff posted at auburn eagle about basketball - don't want to put that stuff here?