Gus Malzahn named AP coach of the year
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn knows the feeling of hard work paying off. In 1984, he was a walk-on receiver at Arkansas. From 2009-11, Malzahn was an offensive coordinator for the Tigers and won the Broyles Award in 2010, an honor that recognizes the top assistant coach in college football.
Now, on the fringe of 2014, following a season of unpredicted astonishment, Malzahn's dedication to the university as head football coach is paying off in the form of a lot of hardware.
Malzahn was named The Associated Press national coach of the year Monday, the second time an Auburn coach has been honored since the award's creation in 1998. Tommy Tuberville won in 2004. Malzahn is also the second coach to win it in his first season with a new team.
"It's very humbling," he said. "Any time you get awards like this, it's a team thing, as far as our staff and our players. It's been fun to be a part of this year."
The first-year head coach received 33 votes from AP Top 25 college football poll voters. He beat out Duke coach David Cutcliffe who led the university to its first 10-win season, receiving 17 AP votes. Jimbo Fisher of Auburn's National Championship nemesis Florida State received three votes while Michigan State's Mark Dantonio also received three.
"It's a real tribute to our players that they've bonded together," Malzahn said. "They've done everything our coaches have asked, and I think the No. 1 thing is we developed good relationships with our players. We trust our players, the players trust our coaches and we've got each others' backs."
Malzahn became the fifth Southeastern Conference coach to win the award.