Gus Malzahn is close to accepting limitations and tweaks to his seven-year, $49 million contract, including a reduced buyout, in order to remain Auburn's head coach, Auburn Undercover reported Tuesday.
The monetary reduction on Malzahn's buyout is unspecified, and any other coaching moves on the staff would have to be revenue-neutral, according to Phillip Marshall's report. That would likely keep Auburn from paying buyouts to assistant coaches, meaning offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey can't be forced out.
According to Marshall, Auburn University President Steven Leath negotiated the offer with Malzahn on Sunday. Tuesday morning, Leath left the deal in the hands of Trustee Raymond Harbert, per the report's sources from the Auburn athletic department.
Malzahn's seven-year, $49 million deal, which guaranteed 75 percent, was finalized last season before the Tigers' SEC title game appearance. Malzahn's buyout under the original contract was upward of $32 million.
The Alabama Political Reporter's Josh Moon reported Monday that "high-powered" officials at Auburn were pushing for Malzahn's firing and had begun gauging interest from possible replacement coaches.
According to multiple reports, Auburn went after former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. Stoops denied that Auburn reached out.
“I haven’t talked to anybody from Auburn," Stoops told USA Today's George Schroeder Monday. "I haven’t met with anybody... nor am I set to talk to anybody. It’s just foolish speculation... that has no basis to it."
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After a 10-4 campaign last season that saw the Tigers' claim the SEC West crown and beat Alabama and Georgia, Malzahn's 2018 squad had immense expectations in the offseason.
Auburn fell well short this year, finishing 7-5 (3-5 SEC), with the primary knock being the offense, which was inept for the most part despite returning most of its talent, including preseason All-SEC quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
In his career on The Plains, Malzahn is 57-27 overall and 28-20 in the conference. In his first season in 2013, Auburn went 12-2 with an SEC Championship and BCS title game appearance.
In five full seasons under Malzahn, Auburn is 1-4 in bowl games with its only win in 2015 over Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl.
According to the report from Auburn Undercover, Auburn has yet to decide on a date to finalize Malzahn's new agreement.
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