Gus Malzahn is expected to do big things in his second year leading the UCF Knights program.

With big opportunities ahead of him, Gus Malzahn might be the perfect head coaching for the UCF Knights at this juncture.

Malzahn is best known for his eight-year run as the head coach of the Auburn Tigers. Despite going 6-4 in a COVID year, Auburn removed all doubt about the athletic department and boosters being nothing short of a dysfunctional mess by firing him. Well, Auburn’s loss is UCF’s gain, as Malzahn won nine games in year one in Orlando and could be winning conference titles here soon.

Here is everything you need to know about the veteran head coach entering year two in Orlando.

Gus Malzahn salary

Malzahn signed a five-year deal worth $11.5 million to be the Knights’ head coach back in February 2021. He makes $2.3 million annually at UCF, which breaks down into $500,000 of base salary and $1.8 million coming from things like radio hits, speaking engagements, public appearances and things of that nature. Of course, he is still getting paid by Auburn University…

Malzahn was due $21.7 million in buyout money from Auburn at the time of his firing. The first half of that ($10.85 million) was due within the first 30 days of his termination. The remaining half of his buyout is to be paid out in four equal payments annually of $2.7125 million. Assuming he has received one of those payments, Auburn is still on the hook to pay Malzhan $8.1375 million!

Gus Malzahn coaching history

Malzahn first got into coaching after his college career split between Arkansas and Henderson State came to an end in the late 1980s. From 1991 to 2005, Malzahn was coaching in the high school ranks in his native Arkansas. While that did enough to impress Houston Nutt to have a role on his 2006 Arkansas staff, nothing will top Malzahn dancing to U Can’t Touch This in the 1990s.

After being the offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at Arkansas, he took on an assistant head coaching role with Tulsa on Todd Graham’s Golden Hurricane staff from 2007 to 2008. Then, Malzahn arrived on The Plains for the first time in 2009. It was this run as the Tigers offensive coordinator that Malzahn first rose to national prominence, helping Auburn win it all back in 2010.

Malzahn would parlay that three-year run as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator into being the head coach of the 2012 Arkansas State Redwolves. Once it hit the fan for Gene Chizik in most unspectacular fashion at Auburn that year, Malzahn was a clear and obvious choice to replace him. He returned to The Plains in 2013, where he guided Auburn to the national title bout in year one.

While Malzahn beat Alabama and Georgia often enough to win a bunch of games to stay at Auburn, his undoing was the SEC schedule. Auburn plays Alabama and Georgia on the road in the same seasons. When Auburn hosts both, it can work out. Unfortunately, Auburn has not defeated Georgia the Classic City since George W. Bush was the President of the United States of America…

After a 6-4 COVID season, Auburn fired Malzahn right after beating Mississippi State. He would replace Josh Heupel in Orlando once he was deemed the right head-coaching candidate to replace Jeremy Pruitt who was fired in Knoxville with cause for rampant recruiting violations. In his first season at Central Florida, Malzahn went 9-4 (6-3) and beat rival Florida in the Gasparilla Bowl.

Entering Week 2 of the 2022 college football season, Malzahn is 87-42 as a college head coach, 51-31 in conference play and 3-5 in bowl games. He won the Sun Belt in 2012 at Arkansas State and the SEC in 2013 at Auburn. In 2013, the Tigers played Florida State in the final BCS National Championship. Malzahn also won a pair of SEC West titles at Auburn, first in 2013 and then 2017.

Gus Malzahn buyout at UCF

Alright … because Malzahn signed a five-year deal worth $11.5 million in 2021, he is under contract for four more years at $2.3 million a pop. Because he made it through year one in Orlando (why wouldn’t he?), Malzahn will need to be paid 75 percent of his remaining contract’s salary. Therefore, his UCF buyout was only $6.9 million at the start of the 2022 college football season.

This number would drop down to just $5.175 million with three years left after the 2022 season, $3.45 million with two years left after the 2023 season and $1.725 million with one year left after the 2024 season. Keep in mind that Auburn is still paying him for the next three years at $2.715 million a clip as well. Interestingly, Malzhan is making slightly over $5 million in combined salary!

Perhaps more importantly, Malzahn will have to pay UCF back some money if he were to leave the program on his own accord over the lifetime of the contract. He would owe UCF $5 million if he left after the 2022 season, $3 million after the 2023 season and $1 million after the 2024 season. If he were to leave before the start of the 2025 season, he would owe Central Florida $500,000.

Look for Malzahn to be getting paid by Auburn and UCF over the course of the next three years.

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