Former Auburn football head coach Gus Malzahn and his freshly signed extension — one that’d keep him in Central Florida coaching the Knights until 2027 — is already aging poorly; with Kansas blowing the doors off of UCF in the first half of an October 7 showdown by a 24-0 score.
Per ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Malzahn’s salary rises to $5.5 million annually in 2026 and 2027, sources said, and the deal gives both additional salary and one extra year on the deal to push it through 2027.
For what, though? Unimaginative offensive sets that don’t move the ball even when his team is down big? For a 1/5 third-down conversion rate in the first half against a team that sits in the middle of the country in defensive efficiency? Unfortunately, UCF fans are feeling now what Auburn football fans felt for years…
Gus Malzahn lost goodwill with Auburn football fans toward end of his tenure
Unfortunately for Malzahn, his tenure coaching the Tigers peaked immediately when his first AU team went to the BCS National Championship game and was a Jameis Winston-led comeback away from winning it all. After that, mediocrity was the result for three years before the 2017 season brought back some of the magic; featuring wins over Alabama and Georgia and an SEC Championship appearance. The 2019 season had a bit less magic but still featured an Iron Bowl victory.
All goodwill was lost in 2020 amidst the pandemic season, and not long after its conclusion, Malzahn was shown the door during Kevin Steele’s attempted takeover of the position. We all know where that would lead us, and don’t need to rehash Potato Man’s failures.
The point is, UCF had the goodwill that was their 9-4 debut season under Malzahn that ended in a bowl win over Florida. Now, they may hit their third-year lull, since keep in mind, AU went 7-6 in year three of Malzahn, and it may not get better from here in the Big 12.
But it will get more expensive for Central Florida.