The UCF Knights finally have their new head football coach. Gus Malzahn has officially been named the program’s new head coach:
BOOM‼️— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) February 15, 2021
Let's #ChargeOn, @CoachGusMalzahn
A news conference has been called for 2 p.m. ET to introduce Malzahn, who flew to Orlando this morning and was greeted by A.D. Terry Mohajir at the airport upon his arrival:
✈️ 407 ✈️ @CoachGusMalzahn pic.twitter.com/7N5F3n4aRC— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) February 15, 2021
Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports reported it first this morning that UCF was finalizing a deal with the former Auburn head coach:
Sources: UCF is close to finalizing a deal to make Gus Malzahn the next football coach. An announcement is expected as soon as today.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) February 15, 2021
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg says he, Chris Low and Andrea Adelson later confirmed the report:
Gus Malzahn will be the next #UCF coach, sources told @aadelsonESPN, @ClowESPN and me. Deal should be finalized soon. Malzahn emerged as UCF's top target on Sunday. Yahoo first reported the hire by new athletic director Terry Mohajir. Malzahn, 55, is 77-38 in the FBS.— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) February 15, 2021
Malzahn coached Auburn for the past eight seasons, leading them to a 68-35 record. During his tenure, Malzahn led the Tigers to a BCS National Championship berth in 2013 and two New Year’s Six bowl games, his most recent being the 2017 Peach Bowl, where the Tigers lost to UCF.
However, after failing to reach a New Year’s Six bowl in three consecutive seasons, Auburn fired Malzahn.
Before Malzahn coached at Auburn, he spent a year as the head coach at Arkansas State, where he worked with new UCF athletics director Terry Mohajir. He led the Red Wolves to a Sun Belt Championship in that lone season.
Prior to that, Malzahn was the offensive coordinator under Gene Chizik at Auburn, and guided Cam Newton to the Heisman Trophy and the Tigers to a BCS national title victory over Oregon.
In another connection to UCF, Malzahn was the offensive coordinator at Tulsa from 2007-2008, when the Golden Hurricane had one of the most explosive offenses in the nation and went 21-7 over those two years. Although Tulsa lost in the C-USA Championship both years (including to UCF in 2007), Malzahn made a name for himself as an offensive genius there.
Mohajir reportedly interviewed a number of candidates, including Ole Miss offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby and Kent State head coach Sean Lewis, but ultimately chose a familiar name in Malzahn.
The details of Malzahn’s contract are currently unknown.
Black & Gold Banneret will continue to update this developing story.