In his first comments since he was fired by Auburn, Gus Malzahn released a statement to the Auburn family about his time on The Plains, which amounted to 11 years, including eight as the head coach.

Malzahn said he was incredibly thankful for the opportunity and that Auburn would hold a special place for him in part because his daughters and sons-in-law all graduated from Auburn.

“We are very thankful for the many friends we’ve made along the way,” Malzahn wrote in his statement.

He thanked every player, and he said it was important to him to represent Auburn with honesty and integrity, and to hire coaches and staff who care about the players.

“You cannot be successful without having great people around you,” he wrote as he also thanked administrators and the hiring committee.

Auburn finished 6-4, but lost by double digits to annual rivals Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M. Auburn also lost to South Carolina, which may have been the toughest loss of the season.

Malzahn went 68-35 in eight seasons and was 39-27 against SEC opponents. He led the Tigers to an SEC title in 2013, his first season, losing to Florida State in the national championship game.