Former Auburn football HC Gus Malzahn gets huge recruiting boost at UCF

Former Auburn football HC Gus Malzahn got a huge recruiting boost at UCF (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Former Auburn football HC Gus Malzahn got a huge recruiting boost at UCF (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Former Auburn football HC Gus Malzahn may not be thinking as much about the Plains these days as he was during the spring athletics season due to the massive recruiting boost UCF just got from Sharon and Marc Hagle, noted commercial developers, philanthropists, and astronauts of Winter Park, Florida, as Knights beat writer John Heisler described them.

As Heisler explains, the $5 million donation to UCF Athletics is ‘the largest cash pledge commitment ever by an individual or couple for the university’s athletic program’. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Knights are entering their final season in the AAC with a tie with Cincinnati for the most conference championships in conference history. Of course, the American only dates back to the 2015 season but concluding their AAC stint by surpassing the Bearcats–after UC became the first Group of Five team to make the College Football Playoff in 2021–would be a great way to build momentum ahead of their plunge into the deep Power Five waters.

The Big 12 is coming in 2023, and the Knights’ upcoming recruiting cycle is most likely to feel the benefits of this donation from the Sunshine State’s Hagle family. Coupled with another step forward for UCF in 2022 and you may just have a budding recruiting juggernaut in Central Florida.

Former Auburn football HC Gus Malzahn won’t be interested in a return if things continue as they are going at UCF

One of the more popular theories about the Auburn football head coaching job in 2023 and beyond, particularly if Bryan Harsin and co. fail to exceed their 5.5 over/under win total in 2022, is Gus Malzahn returning to the Plains after a confidence-building stint with UCF.

That is not looking like an appetizing option for the 56-year-old former Tigers coach at the moment, at least relative to what the Knights are building in Orlando.

Of course, things change quickly in college football. Ask Ed Orgeron. A strong season in the SEC could make Auburn football one of the top jobs in college football again, and at that point, Bryan Harsin would have walked through and hell and back to rebuild its optics.