NFL teams will hire a head coach from the college ranks every once in a while, but Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn won’t be one of them since he apparently has no interest in making that jump, a la former San Francisco 49ers coach and current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who left Stanford to coach the Niners in 2011.
Speaking to Brandon Marcello of AL.com, Malzahn explained just why he preferred the college game.
“To me, that’s business,” Malzahn told AL.com. “There’s a line separation. That’s business. I like the daily contact with an individual, working with them to help them reach our goals and dreams within our team — and individually. That feeling. That goes all the way back to high school and now I’ve just got them a couple years older, but it still feels the same. I love high school football, I love college football. They’re really close.”
“It’s a business,” he repeated. “I like the purity of the game.”
Keep in mind that in 2013, not long after landing Auburn an SEC championship and a spot in the BCS National Championship Game, Malzahn was contacted by the Cleveland Browns about possibly filling their head coaching vacancy. Sure enough, Malzahn said no and the Browns hired Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine instead.
That said, it’s great to see that Pettine is so committed to the Tigers’ program, especially after working his way up to that position after coaching high school football in Arkansas to start his coaching career back in the 1990s.
More often than not, coaches today seem happy to bounce from job to job and not becoming a long-term fixture at any particular program, a la Bear Bryant at Alabama or Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, and Florida before that.
Auburn has a lot left to accomplish under Malzahn and based on his words, it looks like he plans on being there to see his goals for the program through and then beyond.
Auburn opens the season against Louisville on September 5, in a game set to be played at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports