Arkansas State has scheduled a news conference for 3:30 p.m. to announce the hiring of a new coach to replace Hugh Freeze who left to take the head coaching job at Ole Miss last week.
Whether Malzahn will begin his duties immediately or stay with the Tigers through their Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Virginia is unknown.
If he leaves immediately, the Tigers will be without an offensive or a defensive coordinator. Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof left last week to take a similar position at Central Florida.
Earlier Tuesday, Auburn coach Gene Chizik, who is presently serving as defensive coordinator, was asked about the possibility that Malzahn would leave for another coaching job before the bowl game.
“Gus and I have a great relationship and we’ve had several discussions about moving forward in his career and where his goals are,” Chizik said. “At the end of the day, his decisions are going to be up to him and I’m sure he’s going to make the best decision for him and his family. But we’re very open when we talk about it. Again, if an opportunity arises, I’m sure he’ll do what’s best for him and his family, just like I did.”
In three seasons at Auburn, Malzahn made himself into a hot head-coaching commodity. The Tigers set almost every school record for offense last season with Cam Newton at quarterback while finishing unbeaten and winning the BCS title.
Malzahn won the Frank Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach, and was a candidate in the head coaching searches at both Maryland and Vanderbilt.
He chose to remain at Auburn after receiving a raise to $1.3 million per year.
Auburn struggled to a 7-5 record this season, partially due to significant personnel losses from last year’s team.
Even so, Malzahn was a candidate for the head coaching jobs at North Carolina and Kansas before landing the job at Arkansas State, which plays in the Sun Belt Conference.
The move brings Malzahn, a native of Fort Smith, Ark., back to his roots.
Malzahn was one of the top high school coaches in Arkansas for 14 seasons before Houston Nutt hired him to become Arkansas’ offensive coordinator.
He left after one season to take a similar position at Tulsa, where he also served as assistant head coach.