AUBURN, Ala. -- Gene Chizik's first new addition to Auburn's coaching staff was a big one.
Chizik announced the hiring of Gus Malzahn as his offensive coordinator Sunday. Malzahn has spent the last two years as offensive coordinator at Tulsa, where his Golden Hurricane have been among the nation's best offenses.
"This is an exciting opportunity to coach at Auburn, get involved with the Auburn family and work for Coach Chizik," Malzahn said in a release from the school. "I can't wait to get to Auburn and get started."
Malzahn's offenses at Tulsa have averaged over 500 yards a game in each of his two seasons with the school. The Golden Hurricane led the nation with 543.9 yards per game in 2007. This season, it is second, averaging 565.1 yards and 47.4 points. While Tulsa is seventh nationally in passing yardage (310.2 ypg), it hasn't come at the expense of the running game, which is averaging 254.8 yards per game.
"Gus is one of the great offensive minds in college football and we are very excited to having him join the Auburn staff," Chizik said. "His track record at all levels of coaching is remarkable and his offenses have been extremely successful both running and passing the ball."
Malzahn will join Auburn's staff after Tulsa plays Ball State in the GMAC Bowl on Jan. 6.
The 43-year-old Malzahn spent 14 seasons as a high school coach in Arkansas at Shiloh and Springdale. Using a highly-regarded spread offense, he led five teams to state championship games and won three titles.
That success got him a job with Houston Nutt's staff at Arkansas in 2006 as offensive coordinator and receivers coach. With running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, the Razorbacks went 10-4 and won the SEC West Division. They were the fourth-ranked rushing team in the country that year.
But Malzahn clashed with Nutt over offensive philosophy in his one year in Little Rock and eventually left for Tulsa in 2007.