The University of Central Florida hired Gus Malzahn to become the Knights’ new head coach on Monday.
The University signed Malzahn to a five-year $11.5 million deal. The agreement includes guaranteed annual compensation of $2.3 million, including a base salary of $500,000 and $1.8 million in media arrangements, according to The Orlando Sentinel’s Iliana Limon Romero and Matt Murschel.
Malzahn will become the programs third head coach in the last five years, replacing Josh Heupel, who was hired in 2018. Before Scott Frost’s hiring in 2015, the program had only employed three head coaches since 1985.
Malzahn previously coached at Auburn University for eight seasons from 2012-2020. His tenure ended with a 68-34 record to pair with a BCS National Championship, Sugar Bowl and Peach Bowl appearance during his time in Auburn.
In the 2017, Malzahn and Auburn fell to UCF in the Peach Bowl 31-24. Malzahn reflected on the matchup in his introductory press conference.
Malzahn and Mohajir Connection
Central Florida’s decision comes less than a week after the program hired Athletic Director Terry Mohajir to replace the departure of Danny White. White’s hire at Tennessee created another loss for UCF as former head coach Heupel decided to join him in Knoxville.
Just as White hired his former head coach to help him build the Tennessee Athletic Department, Mohajir is taking a similar approach building UCF’s program.
Malzahn and Mohajir previously worked together at Arkansas State University as head coach and athletic director in 2012. Mohajir ran the Arkansas State athletics program from 2012-2021 while Malzahn for Auburn in 2012-13 after just a year as the programs head football coach.
Mohajir spoke on Malzahn’s track record and winning pedigree that his colleague brings to the program.
UCF Program Future
During the five years under coaches Frost and Heupel, UCF had a combined 47-15 record winning over 75 percent of the program’s games. The team went to New Year’s Six Bowl’s in both 2017 and 2018, earning a victory over Auburn in the Peach Bowl before narrowly losing to Louisiana State University in the Fiesta Bowl the following year.
Central Florida’s recent program success, and Malzahn’s previous achievements in the SEC, gives fans optimism the new head coach will be able to elevate the team to another level of success unheard of outside the Power 5 conferences: Competing to play in the College Football Playoff.