Auburn breaks open the vault to form GusChamp
Gus Bus, move aside.
Auburn has unknowingly created a new moniker thanks to a record $1.6 million annual salary for a coordinator, which several outlets reported Friday night: GusChamp.
That’s right, the Tigers “won” the sweepstakes for former Florida head coach Will Muschamp, mostly by buying up all the lottery tickets.
Muschamp will make more money from Auburn than a coach that recently appeared in a national title game with the richest program in the country, and including his $6.3 million buyout due from Florida over three years, he’ll make more as a defensive coordinator than Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher.
After reports linking Muschamp’s name to South Carolina, Texas A&M, NFL teams and to Houston as a head coaching candidate, one of college football’s most proven defensive coordinators is returning to The Plains.
Muschamp will link up with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and his vaunted hurry-up, no-huddle offense that already claimed an SEC title in 2013.
The $1.6 million is an exorbitant sum. According to FBS salary data provided by USA Today, that salary would’ve ranked Muschamp 59th out of 121 reported figures for FBS head coaches in 2014.
Again, Muschamp will coach the defense at Auburn. And to do so he’s getting paid more than Notre Dame gave head coach Brian Kelly this year.
Earlier reports are right. Will Muschamp has agreed to become Auburn's DC. Will be highest-paid college coordinator. More than $1.6 mil per.
— Kevin Scarbinsky (@KevinScarbinsky) December 13, 2014
Auburn’s defensive coordinator in 2006-07, Muschamp also worked under Nick Saban (LSU, Miami Dolphins) and Mack Brown (Texas) before a failed four-year stint as Florida’s head coach.
His Gators defenses finished in the Top 10 in the FBS in yards allowed all four years, adding to an already-impressive track record.
Ironically, the return to Auburn gives Muschamp the running game he tried to establish in Gainesville, Fla. Malzahn’s Tigers finished first in the NCAA in rushing in 2013 and rank 12th this season with 258.5 yards per game. The offense could lose two star receivers along with QB Nick Marshall and RB Cameron Artis-Payne, but backup QB Jeremy Johnson is considered a more proficient downfield passer and Malzahn has a history of putting up points year after year.
To put the price tag into perspective, Malzahn’s 2014 salary of nearly $3.9 million and Muschamp’s reported salary of $1.6 million total a combined $5.5 million. That’s more than $1.6 million less than what Alabama head coach Nick Saban earned in 2014.
That boom you may have heard emanating from Auburn, Ala.? Pay to play, as the saying goes. There’s a clear arms race in the SEC and in college football that’s continued for years and shows no signs of halting.
If Auburn wins another SEC or national championship in the next few seasons, it could go down as the best coordinator hire in school history.