Sunday, December 12, 2010

Malzhan to Vanderbilt

Former Arkansas assistant coach Gus Malzhan has left his job as Offensive Coordinator for Auburn to become head coach at Vanderbilt. #1 Auburn has had an overpowering offense this year, and Malzhan deserves much of the credit. Of course, so does Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton, the Tiger's QB.

Auburn has managed to hang on to Malzhan by giving him a huge raise.

Vanderbilt has consistently been a cellar-dweller in the hyper-powerful SEC. As a small private school in a league of big state schools it is at a massive financial and institutional disadvantage. Malzhan has never faced a challenge as big as turning Vandy into an SEC grid iron winner. Can he pull it off?

I wouldn't bet against him. The key is recruiting and Malzhan has a strong selling point for offensive recruits. He can tell the top QB prospects in the nation that he will put them in a system that will maximize their potential. Young wide receivers can be coaxed to a school where they throw forty times again and still win. Offensive linemen can be a part of a dominant high-scoring machine. Malzhan has a case he can make to talented recruits- on offense.

His best strategy will be to use his well-earned reputation as an offensive genius to land a batch of high-powered offensive players and then try to outscore people. Actually, Auburn has taken that strategy to the BCS title game. For Malzhan, going .500 in the SEC would be a laudable goal. What's the next step? A head coaching job at a school that gives him the base he needs to recruit good players on BOTH sides of the ball. Still, winning at Vandy in the SEC will be very satisfying, especially victories over a Houston Nut led Ole Miss.


Anonymous Contrarian said...

"Still, winning at Vandy in the SEC will be very satisfying, especially victories over a Houston Nut led Ole Miss."
Do you think these high-powered, hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars-salaried coaches really have that in mind when they take these jobs? With all they have to consider: the school administration, contracts, recruiting, NCAA, assistant coaches, alumni, foundation fund-raising, players, strategy, family, etc. how high on the list is settling that old score? He's already beat Nutt this year, 51-31, anyway. Yes, beating Nutt as a head coach would be icing on the cake, but I seriously doubt that's a huge consideration for him in all this; if it was, he likely wouldn't be taking a job at Vandy - he would wait for a head coaching job with an already established powerhouse program, and Vandy is going to take a lot of rebuilding. Plus, Malzahn was a successful high school coach long before he was Nutt's assistant, and I believe he would've risen through the coaching ranks, whether under Nutt or someone else.

1:04 PM, December 13, 2010  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I think you got it right when you described it as "icing on the cake" to beat Nutt as a head coach at a school that is not supposed to do it.

5:10 PM, December 13, 2010  
Anonymous Contrarian said...

It appears this is all for naught. The ADG reported Malzahn will decline the Vandy job, but that he will get a substantial raise (double - to probably over $1M) as an assistant at Auburn. If Auburn wins a National Championship, his coaching star will be all the brighter, and he should be able to command almost any salary he wants at another powerhouse. However, it appears to me, as someone on the outside looking in, that he's happy where he is and will stay for at least one more year, and maybe longer.

A $1+ million salary for an assistant athletic coach is absolutely mind-blowing, but hey, it's nice work if you can get it. I just wonder about the non-athlete students struggling (or borrowing) just to pay their tuition, not to mention trying to eat and pay rent. To me, things seem a tad askew when coaches are paid such exorbitant salaries, and students struggle financially, and/or get saddled with loans they'll pay on for years after graduation. I am certainly aware that a National Championship results in millions of dollars extra to the school that wouldn't otherwise go there, but still, it seems something is amiss.

9:25 AM, December 14, 2010  

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