After the 2017-2018 College Football Season, Auburn University decided to extend Gus Malzahn’s contract for another seven years. This extension would end after the 2024-2025 season and included several new benefits to provide extra incentive. It leads to the question of whether this additional investment has been worth it over these last two seasons.
Before we can answer this question, we must break down his contract details to see what he earns each year. These figures will make it much easier to determine whether Auburn’s lengthy investment has been positive.
Gus Malzahn’s Contract Details
Gus Malzahn’s contract is slightly different from other coaches because it’s split into three categories rather than two. The additional category of personal endorsement rights gives Auburn complete control over what products Malzahn endorses. He will receive compensation for these rights as you’ll see below:
Total Guaranteed Compensation
- Base Salary: $500,000
- Payment for Coaching Duties: ((2018-2019) $3,100,000, (2019-2020) $3,150,000, continues to increase every year by $50,000
- Payment for Personal Endorsement Rights: (2018-2019) $3,100,000, (2019-2020) $3,150,000, continues to increase every year by $50,000
Since Malzahn’s coaching duties and endorsement rights increased by $50,000 every season, his guaranteed earnings rise each year:
- 2018-2019: $6,700,000
- 2019-2020: $6,800,000
These guaranteed earnings put Malzahn among the highest-paid coaches in America. It rivals what you see from Tom Herman’s, Nick Saban, Lincoln Reilly, and Jimbo Fisher. He’s guaranteed salary was 6th highest among coaches in the 2019-2020 season.
But Malzahn’s potential earnings don’t stop with his guaranteed income. He’s capable of making much more by hitting specific incentives throughout each College Football season. Here’s a quick look at how much additional income he can make during the length of this extension.
- The team exceeds or meets an APR of 930: $25,000
- The team exceeds or meets an APR of 950: $50,000
- The team exceeds or meets an APR of 1000: $75,000
- Victories (can only earn one payment)
- 10 wins: $75,000
- 11 wins: $100,000
- 12 wins: $125,000
- 13 wins: $150,000
- 14 wins: $250,000
- Playing in SEC Championship: $100,000
- Winning SEC Championship: $150,000
- Appearing in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game
- Doesn’t appear in SEC Championship Game, but does get an invite to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game: $200,000
- Appears in SEC Championship and fails to win, but does get an invite to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game: $100,000
- Plays in a Non-New Year’s Six Bowl Game: $50,000
- Top 5 Final Ranking: $100,000
- Named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by AP or Coaches: $100,000
- Named National Coach of the Year (AFCA, AP, Walter Camp, Home Depot, or Bear Bryant): $100,000
- Wins National Championship: $500,000
What Guz Malzahn Made in Both Seasons
Gus Malzahn’s Auburn Tigers weren’t exactly a powerhouse during the 2018-2019 season. Auburn went a solid 8-5 with a poor 3-5 conference record. Everyone was expecting a bit more success because of their excellent previous season. But Auburn instead fell back to the middle of the tough SEC West division.
It’s worth noting that the team had some solid wins during this season. They began with an impressive win over 9th ranked Washington and would later beat 20th ranked Texas A&M. A close loss against 5th ranked LSU was quite remarkable, as well.
Their season would end on a solid note with a 63-14 shackling against Purdue in the Music City Bowl. However, this type of bowl isn’t what Auburn is paying Malzahn for with his massive contract. But Auburn wouldn’t have to spend much in additional income because of this lack of success.
Malzahn would pull in $50,000 for appearing in a bowl game and $75,000 for the team achieving an APR of 976. These two incentives would increase his earnings for the 2018-2019 season to $6,825,000, which is impressive.
It’s a figure Auburn probably wasn’t too happy with paying for a decent 8-5 season. Their initial investment into this contract extension is looking a bit shaky. But you do have to give them props for playing their rivals LSU close and those impressive ranked wins (Washington and Texas A&M).
Malzahn’s Tigers improved by a single win with a 9-4 record, but their conference performance improved by two games (5-3). 14th ranked Auburn managed to finish third in a tough SEC West topped by Alabama and LSU, ranking 8th and 1st, respectively.
Their season’s highlights consisted of three impressive ranked wins (11th ranked Oregon, 17th ranked Texas A&M, and 5th ranked Alabama). Each of these wins proves Malzahn is more than capable of competing with the best College Football can offer.
It’s a belief that was even more confirmed with four close ranked losses (10th ranked Florida, eventual 1st ranked LSU, 4th ranked Georgia, and 18th ranked Minnesota). Auburn fans might not want to hear it, but these are quality losses rather than anything embarrassing. Their season would end with the earlier mentioned loss against Minnesota in The Outback Bowl.
But again, the season would end with Malzahn earning little when it came to incentives. He would get the $50,000 for appearing in a bowl game and $75,000 for the team achieving an APR of 982. His total earnings would end up being $6,925,000.
Overall, Auburn should be encouraged by Malzahn’s progress during this season. But the team still isn’t where the University wants, which could become a massive issue in the future. If they don’t continue to improve, both parties could find themselves stuck at an impasse.
Does Gus Malzahn’s Success Merit His 2017 Contract Extension?
At this point, Malzahn’s success over these last two seasons doesn’t merit being the sixth highest-paid coach in College Football. Auburn was likely hoping the team could compete with their in-state rival Alabama, but it wasn’t the case. Their impressive ranked wins within this period aren’t anything to overlook, though. Malzahn does seem to have the team on an upward swing as they’re more than competitive.
Auburn’s satisfaction with the extension will come down to the upcoming year. If the team continues to produce better results, it’s easy to imagine the University will be okay with these first two years. But a downslide or similar consistent results could make them look for greener pastures in the form of a different head coach.