Popular Auburn football position coach taking Troy head coach role comes down to ambition

A popular Auburn football position coach taking Troy's head coaching job will come down to ambition, says one analyst.

Auburn cornerbacks coach Zac Etheridge celebrates with Auburn Tigers defensive back Nehemiah
Auburn cornerbacks coach Zac Etheridge celebrates with Auburn Tigers defensive back Nehemiah / Mickey Welsh / Advertiser / USA TODAY
facebooktwitterreddit

Auburn football secondary/safeties coach Zac Etheridge leaving the Plains and becoming Troy's head coach this offseason will come down to ambition, says Mike Farrell Sports' Mike Huesmann, who concedes that the Tigers could outbid the Sunbelt school if it came down to it.

"Etheridge is a name that immediately popped up when this job became available," Huesmann wrote. "He is young, dynamic, and bright. All qualities that worked with Jon Sumrall. The former Auburn player has coached at Penn State, Georgia Tech, Louisiana, and Houston. Hugh Freeze won’t want to lose him and Auburn may be able to offer him more money. This may come down to the ambition he has to take a head coaching job and what Troy could offer him in recruiting and NIL offerings."

College football insider Bruce Feldman reported that Etheridge is a name to keep an eye on, as On3's Nick Schultz relayed.

"Since returning to his alma mater in 2021, Zac Etheridge’s name has come up in connection with a few jobs over the years," Schultz prefaced before saying, "He could be gaining steam for the Troy job, though, according to Feldman. Feldman reported Etheridge had a strong interview and is a “name to keep an eye on” as the process unfolds. He joined Auburn in 2021 as safeties coach and remained on staff under new coach Hugh Freeze last year."

Auburn football must retain long-time Tigers staffers who played for AU

Etheridge and Cadillac Williams are as close to irreplaceable as it gets regarding Auburn staffers. Hugh Freeze likely understands this and must do everything possible to keep the pair on the Plains over the long haul.

Sure, Etheridge having that ambition to be a head coach would be undeniable, and no amount of money is likely to sway someone who desires upward mobility in the sport. But up until the moment either has that itch, AU must do everything possible to maintain that spirit of the Loveliest Village and keep the former Tigers greats and long-time staffers -- in this college football landscape, Etheridge's three years in Auburn is a long time -- happy.