December 13th, 2010 01:53 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Auburn, Vanderbilt
Tags: Greg Roman, SEC, Troy Calhoun, VU
And in the end, the word was “no.”
Chris Low reports that a source has told ESPN.com that Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has decided to turn down the Vanderbilt head coaching job.
“Malzahn, in his second season at Auburn, had emerged as Vanderbilt’s top target and was offered a lucrative financial package. After mulling it over for the last two days, Malzahn decided it was best that he stay put.”
If true, that’s great news for Auburn, devastating news for Vandy. And it’s bad news for the SEC as a whole, too. It would have been nice for VU to show the nation that it’s getting serious about football. Hiring a proven head coach or the hot assistant in the nation would have done just that.
Alas, it looks like that won’t happen now. Instead, the nation will see only that VU offered a man just six seasons out of high school ball more than $2.5 million per year… and he still said no. That’s a different kind of message to be sending to America. (That’s not Vandy’s fault, mind you, but it is the price to be paid for being so far down for so long.)
This has to be particularly disappointing to Commodore fans who had gotten their hopes up. Their school will have to go back to the drawing board at this point and it will likely have to turn the keys to the program over to an assistant coach who nary a Dores fan had heard of prior to this coaching search.
Vanderbilt officials must have believed they had some sort of deal in place with Malzahn. You don’t let other coaches fall off your search list unless you’re sure you’ve landed your top candidate (or unless you’ve run a bad search). Unfortunately, it looks like VU did allow Option 2 and Option 3 to fall of the hook.
Now vice chancellor David Williams will have to rekindle the interest of either Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin or Stanford offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
Both coaches now have leverage in their corner. If VU officials decide to woo Franklin, for example, the coach will know that Vandy has already been publicly embarrassed by the Malzahn turn down (and turn downs from Al Golden, Troy Calhoun, etc). As a result of Vandy wanting to ink a deal quickly, Franklin might be able to coax more money out of Vanderbilt than the school had initially wanted to spend. Remember, the big offer was allegedly set aside for Malzahn, not a fallback candidate.
If Low’s report is true, the positivity surrounding the potential hire of Malzahn will quickly turn negative in Nashville. Fair or not, some will mutter, “Same old Vanderbilt.”
A very disappointing outcome for the Commodores.
Especially considering the fact that Vandy got proactive in its decision to fire Robbie Caldwell. The goal was to get out in front of other schools and hire a coach before several other jobs opened up. But a number of jobs have opened — and closed — since Vanderbilt canned Caldwell.
UPDATE — The Birmingham News is also reporting that Malzahn will remain at Auburn.
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