Who Will Auburn Hire as Head Coach?
Who will take the job that apparently no one wants? The Auburn Tigers paid $21 million to fire Gus Malzahn after finishing 6-4 in a conference only, COVID-19 laden, season. Eight days have passed and the Tigers still have not officially found a new football coach to lead the program into the future.
It was reported that Hugh Freeze, Lane Kiffin and Mario Cristobal were the initial choices to replace Malzahn. Cristobal promptly received an extension and a raise from Oregon ensuring that his immediate future lies in Eugene. Freeze signed a six-year contract extension in the middle of Liberty's season and appears happy leading the Flames. Kiffin has publicly stated that he has not had any contact with Auburn.
Those reports were followed by rumors that current Tigers defensive coordinator Kevin Steele may end up being the choice to follow Malzahn. Steele has a 9-36 record in four seasons as head coach at Baylor nearly 20 years ago, while being a prolific defensive coordinator he would be an underwhelming choice to take on Nick Saban year-in and year-out.
Those reports cooled and Auburn reportedly gathered a new set of candidates after creating an official search committee for who would lead the Tigers next. Billy Napier head coach at Arkansas State, Steve Sarkisian offensive coordinator at Alabama, Brent Venables and Tony Elliot the Clemson defensive and offensive coordinators have all been rumored to be considered.
Sarkisian and Napier have both withdrawn their names from consideration and to make matters even stranger it is reported that Kevin Steele is no longer in consideration for the vacancy.
The latest rumor is that the Tigers are turning to successful UAB coach Bill Clark.
Clark has overseen the revival of the UAB Blazers program after its two-year hiatus. Clark has a record of 40-22 with the Blazers and a career record of 51-26. He has won Conference USA twice with UAB.
Could Clark be the man to challenge Nick Saban from across the state? Malzah beat The Goat three times in eight years, more than any coach during that span, and it still was not enough for the Tiger faithful. Is it worth leaving the Blazers when he has that program on a roll already?
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