One day you're hot, the next you're not. Malzahn will be a hot name for a while in the coaching world provided the circus act put on by his wife doesn't get in the way, but in terms of the Kansas coaching search his name seems to have cooled a bit since Sunday.
Some don't see a guy moving on from a $1.3 million offensive coordinator perch. Some don't see a guy taking the Kansas gig when he turned down a $3 million offer from Vanderbilt just a year ago. Whatever the reason, he's still been discussed as a serious candidate at times, so let's jump in and find out a little bit more about a man considered one of THE great offensive minds in college football Gus Malzahn.
Gus Malzahn claims Fort Smith Arkansas as his hometown and it is in the state of Arkansas where he made a HUGE name for himself. The word legend is sometimes used a little too regularly but by all accounts that is the word that is best used to describe Gus Malzahn in the high school coaching world in the State of Arkansas.
Malzahn does have some playing experience at the college level spending two seasons with the University of Arkansas as a wideout in '84 and '85. Somewhere in there Malzahn has a gap and then continues his career at Henderson State in '88 and '89. Malzahn would ultimately receive his BA from Henderson State in 1990.
From that point on it was pretty much right into the coaching ranks for Malzahn and he's really never looked back. In 1991 he went to Hughes High School in Arkansas as the defensive coordinator and then took over as head coach the following season. Malzahn would stay at Hughes until 1995 and in that time he would take Hughes to the State Championship game and finish as State runner up.
It was during this time that Malzahn would introduce a lot of people to a wide open, hurry up spread attack. Something we take as common place today, but at the time was somewhat revolutionary. Following the '95 season Malzahn would take over at Shiloh Christian, a program that still carries a lot of weight in Arkansas high school football. Under Malzahn Shiloh Christian would explode onto the national scene for their dynamic offensive attack setting national records with 66 touchdown passes and 5,221 yards passing. All this from quarterback Josh Floyd.
Shiloh Christian would win two State championships under Malzahn and he would then move on to take over at Springdale, one of the most tradition rich programs in the state of Arkansas. All said and done Malzahn coached in seven State championship games, won two and had two quarterbacks lead the nation in passing yardage during his high school coaching career.
In 2006 Malzahn would take his career to the next level joining Houston Nutt and the Arkansas Razorbacks for one season as offensive coordinator. Malzahn's offense ranked fourth nationally and the Razorbacks won the SEC West finishing 10-4 in what would be his only season with Houston Nutt.
His next stop was Tulsa where he would again serves as offensive coordinator. Tulsa's 2007 offense was a top 10 offense nationally and ranked 1st in scoring. The team would set conference and school records and overall it's just another example of offensive success under Malzahn.
In 2009 Malzahn of course joined Gene Chizik at the University of Auburn and the two would eventually go on to win a National title with Cam Newton at the helm. Chizik looked like a brilliant hire (Auburn choosing Chizik instead of Turner Gill) and Malzahn became one of the hottest coordinator names in college football.
Just one year ago he turned down a $3 million offer to coach at Vanderbilt and Malzahn remains one of the highest paid assistants in the nation at $1.3 million. At some point you have to expect Malzahn to take his career to the head coaching level, but at just 46 Malzahn might choose to be extremely selective in looking for the right fit where he can be successful.
It will be interesting to see if this name continues to float to the top as it relates to the Kansas job. We're probably winding down the search as one would expect Zenger to have someone in place by Thursday or Friday at the latest. If it's Malzahn Kansas fans are certainly looking at someone with some recruiting clout and major offensive chops taking over in Lawrence.