AUBURN, Alabama – Although no agreement has been finalized and changes remain possible, Gus Malzahn is about to accept a reduced purchase and other limitations to remain in his seventh season as Auburn's head coach, the sources told AuburnUndercover.
The purchase of Malzahn, the sources said, would be reduced by an unspecified amount. Any movement of the training personnel would have to be income neutral, effectively eliminating the possibility of paying purchases for assistant coaches and ensuring that Chip Lindsey remains an offensive coordinator unless he decides to leave.
President Steven Leath presented the offer in a Sunday meeting with Malzahn. Leath left Tuesday morning for a meeting in Washington, DC, and, according to sports department sources, left negotiations with Malzahn in the hands of trustee Raymond Harbert.
Malzahn was on the recruiting route on Monday night and went on another recruiting trip on Tuesday morning. He is not expected to return until Tuesday night.
After Auburn beat Georgia and Alabama, when both were ranked No. 1 last November, Leath, with the strong support of Harbert, reached an agreement with Malzahn on a seven-year contract worth $ 49 million with 75 percent guaranteed.
Since then, Auburn has had an overall record of 7-7 and 4-7 against the power-five conference teams. After starting this season at No. 8, Auburn finished 7-5 overall and 3-5 in the SEC, creating a firestorm among Auburn supporters and donors. Acquiring the Malzahn contract and making a change would cost approximately $ 32 million with about $ 15 million in 30 days and the rest will be paid in four annual installments.
Auburn coaches, the sources said, have faced questions about Malzahn's future at virtually every stop in the recruiting process in the past two days.
In six seasons at Auburn, Malzahn has a record of 52-27 and 28-20 in the SEC. In 2013, his first Auburn team was 12-2 overall, 7-1 in the SEC, won the conference championship and lost 34-31 to the State of Florida on the BCS Championship team. His 2017 team went 10-2 in the regular season and won the Western Division championship before losing 28-7 to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game and 34-27 to Central Florida in the Peach Bowl to finish 10-4.
From 2014-2016, the combined record was 23-16 in general and 11-13 in the SEC. The Tigers finished 8-5 and 4-4 in 2014 after a 7-1 start, finished 7-6 and 2-6 in 2015 and 8-5 and 5-3 in 2016, losing to Oklahoma at the Sugar Bowl. Malzahn's bowl record is 1-4, the only win over Memphis at the 2015 Birmingham Bowl.
There is no word on when an agreement will be finalized.