Former Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn will be UCF’s next head coach, sources told ESPN.
A deal is being finalized, and an announcement from UCF could come as soon as Monday. Malzahn emerged Sunday as UCF’s leading candidate. Yahoo first reported the hire.
Malzahn, 55, was fired on Dec. 13 after eight seasons at Auburn. He was 68-35 overall and 39-27 in SEC play. Malzahn took the Tigers to the national championship game in his first season in 2013. They won 10 games and made an SEC championship game appearance in 2017, but went just 14-12 against SEC opponents over the next three seasons.
Malzahn replaces Josh Heupel at UCF. Heupel left last month for the Tennessee head coaching job.
Malzahn signed a new seven-year, $49 million contract following the 2017 season and was owed a $21.7 million buyout by Auburn when he was fired last December. Malzahn was just 8-17 against SEC rivals Alabama, Georgia and LSU, but he was also one of the few coaches in college football to have any success against Nick Saban at Alabama. Since the start of the 2013 season, Saban is 65-6 against SEC opponents, and three of those losses were to Malzahn.
New UCF athletic director Terry Mohajir and Malzahn’s paths crossed briefly at Arkansas State. Three months after being named the Arkansas State athletic director in 2012, Mohajir had to find a replacement for Malzahn when he left for Auburn. Kent State coach Sean Lewis also was among those considered for the UCF job, according to sources.
ESPN’s Chris Low and Adam Rittenberg contributed to this report