Auburn's Malzahn named top assistant coach

Auburn’s Chizik, Fairley lose out on national awards

abitter@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 7, 2010 

AUBURN, Ala. -- The man behind Auburn’s record-setting offense got his due credit Monday afternoon.

Tigers offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was named the 2010 winner of the Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.

The 45-year-old, who has gone from an innovative no-huddle, spread guru in the high school ranks to one of the most respected coordinators in the sport in a span of six years, returned to his native Arkansas on Monday to receive the award at a luncheon in Little Rock.

“I feel like this is an award that all the offensive coaches had a part in winning,” Malzahn said in a release from the school. “The coaches and the players have worked very hard this season and they all share in this award.”

He is the second Auburn assistant to earn the honor, joining current Tigers head coach Gene Chizik, who won it as a defensive coordinator in 2004.

Malzahn is the 15th winner of the award, which is named in honor of Frank Broyles, a legendary Arkansas coach and administrator. Broyles was athletic director when the Razorbacks hired Malzahn in 2006 following successful stints as a head coach at Shiloh Christian and Springdale high schools.

“Coach Broyles gave me my first job as a college coach,” Malzahn said. “I grew up in Arkansas and it has just made all of this very special to me.”

Malzahn left Arkansas after a year of wrangling with then-head coach Houston Nutt over the offense’s direction, but has thrived during his second stint in the SEC.

Auburn’s offense ranks first in the SEC and seventh in the nation in total offense, averaging 497.7 yards per game. The Tigers have set school records with 455 points, 3,733 rushing yards and 6,470 total yards.

The Tigers didn’t win every award they were up for Monday.

Auburn defensive end Nick Fairley was beaten out by Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as college football’s top defensive player. Georgia’s Justin Houston was also a finalist for that award.

The award was given out by the Football Writers Association of America at a banquet in Charlotte, N.C. Bowers, a junior, had an NCAA-best 15.5 sacks in addition to 25 tackles for a loss, second most nationally.

Fairley, who earned Associated Press SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors earlier Monday, led the SEC in both sacks (10.5) and tackles for a loss (21), setting a school record in the latter.

The junior remains a finalist for the Lombardi Award (top lineman) and Chuck Bednarik Award (top defensive player). Both will be presented in Houston -- the Lombardi on Wednesday and Bednarik on Thursday.

Oregon’s Chip Kelly, meanwhile, won the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award. Chizik was one of eight finalists for the award.

Kelly led the Ducks to a 12-0 record and No. 1 spot in the USA Today coaches’ poll. Oregon finished second in the final BCS rankings and will play Auburn for the national championship in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10.

Kelly is Oregon’s second winner of the award, joining Rich Brooks, who won it in 1994.

Terry Bowden is the only Auburn coach to win it, doing so in 1993.

Chizik was still named one of five American Football Coaches Association regional coaches of the year, winning in Region 2. He is 21-5 in two years at Auburn.

The winners will be recognized at the 2010 AFCA Convention in Dallas on Jan. 11, when the coach of the year will be announced.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service