Now in his 10th season as a college football head coach- including eight of those seasons spent with the Auburn Tigers- Gus Malzahn is intimately familiar with the Auburn football program.
So it should be a feather in the cap of incoming Auburn coach Hugh Freeze that he has Malzahn's support. In a Monday tweet, Gus congratulated his friend on the move.
"Happy for my friend @CoachHughFreeze for getting the Auburn job! That’s a special place, you’re going to love it! I’ve also got a couple old sweater vests laying around if you ever need them," said Malzahn.
Malzahn and Freeze will not just share Auburn in common, but respective backstories leading up to their hires. As USA Today's Dan Harralson pointed out, Freeze is now Auburn's third consecutive former Arkansas State Red Wolves coach hired.
While largely a winning era, Malzahn's era at Auburn wound up being an expensive one for the university. Dismissed after his eighth season with the Tigers, Auburn bought out the remainder of Gus' contract for more than $21M.
Auburn made Freeze's hire official Monday following an extended period of speculation. Following a 2016 scandal that rocked college football, in which Freeze was found to used school resources to contact escort services, the veteran coach resigned from his post.
While his coaching prospects remained cloudy at the time, Freeze would re-emerge with the Liberty Flames three years later. Hugh oversaw the team from 2019 through this season, tallying a cumulative 33-12 record. Now, clearly feeling ready to re-enter college football's biggest spotlight, Freeze will fill the vacancy left by interim coach Cadillac Williams.