Auburn president Jay Gogue said there’s no timeline set on the school’s search for a new football coach, insisting only that a hire will come when the search finds the right candidate during an interview Thursday with the Opelika-Auburn News.
Gogue also reiterated that Malzahn’s contract will be paid in full and assured that the costs would have no effect on the non-athletic aspects of the university.
The buyout for Malzahn, who was fired Sunday, is $21.45 million. Half of that amount due 30 days after his termination.
“The obligation is clearly in athletics, so it will have no effect on student tuition, fees or anything relevant to state monies, federal monies or grants … The cost is borne on the athletics component of the university, and there are a lot of factors,” Gogue explained.
Gogue pointed to the athletic department’s reserves along with Tigers Unlimited, a private fundraising organization through which donors contribute money to the university’s various athletic programs.
Gogue also pointed to the television money Auburn will receive as part of the Southeastern Conference, saying it was a “phenomenal number” for the SEC to be on track to play all but one of its scheduled regular-season games in pandemic play.
“They will have to look at it [coaching contracts] carefully, but – you know, they run an operation of $160 million a year – they certainly have got to pay attention to it and do it right,” Gogue said.
Malzahn’s dismissal Sunday came one day after the Tigers ended finished their regular-season schedule. In eight seasons as head coach, Malzahn compiled a 68-35 overall record, including a 39-27 record in SEC play.
The Tigers were 6-4 against all-SEC competition in 2020, including blowout losses to rivals Georgia and Alabama on the road. Malzahn’s final game as Auburn head coach was a 24-10 road victory over Mississippi State.
The university made it clear Sunday in its statement regarding Malzahn’s dismissal that the coach will be paid for the remainder of his contract. Gogue reiterated as much Thursday.
“One of the requirements when you make a coaching change is we're going to treat the person who leaves with respect and dignity. We're not going to hassle them about anything; we're going to pay them what we said we would in their contract,” Gogue said. “Gus brought us a lot of great, happy, exciting times while he was here. He did a great job in lot of respects, and so I will make sure that he’s paid relative to his contract.”
Gogue also discussed the department’s decision to hire the Parker Executive Search Firm, which was announced Tuesday. The firm is assisting an eight-person advisory group – which includes athletic director Allen Greene as well as Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson – in the process of selecting the 27th head coach in program history.
“Their job is basically to work with and through agents and variety of coaches to find out who would have any interest and then try to be the matchmaker to get Allen and his advisory groups together for discussions,” Gogue said.