Auburn, Ala.--After being named SEC Coach Football of the Year by the Associated Press on Monday, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn will receive the Home Depot National Coach of the Year on Thursday in Orlando.
Malzahn led the Tigers to the SEC championship on Saturday with a 59-42 victory over Missouri in Atlanta. That improved his team’s record to 12-1 and set the stage for the Tigers to play Florida State in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6th in Pasadena, Calif.
Also on Wednesday, Malzahn was named SEC Coach of the Year by a vote of the league's coaches while junior running back Tre Mason was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year by the coaches. Mason had previously won the same award presented by AP, which also named Malzahn the SEC Coach of the Year.
In his first season as head coach of the Tigers and second overall as a college head coach, he is just the second person to lead his team to the BCS national championship game in his first season at a college. The other was Larry Coker at Miami in 2001.
The Auburn coach celebrates Auburn's SEC championship on Saturday night in Atlanta.
Malzahn is the third coach in SEC history to lead his team to the league title in his first season on the job. The others were Bernie Moore at LSU in 1935 and John Vaught at Ole Miss in 1947.
Malzahn’s two-year record as a head coach is 21-4 and he has the best winning percentage of any football coach in the SEC. He also led Arkansas State to the Sun Belt Conference championship in 2012.
In his eight seasons as a head coach the teams he has been involved with have reached their conference championship game six times–two at Auburn, two at Tulsa, one at Arkansas State and one at Arkansas.
Known for his innovative offense, he has coached players who have produced 11 1,000-yard rushing seasons including two this year from Tre Mason (1,621), the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, and Nick Marshall, who has 1,023 rushing yards.
Malzahn has also coached three 3,000-yard passers and five 1,000-yard receivers.
While serving as Auburn offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, QB Cam Newton was named the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner as the Tigers won the BCS national title with an unbeaten season in which AU set numerous school offensive records. Malzahn was honored with the Broyles Award that season, presented annually to the top assistant coach in college football.
After spending the 2012 season as head coach at Arkansas State he was hired on Dec. 4th, 2012 to take over the Auburn program, which he has led to the biggest turnaround in SEC history. The Tigers, who were 3-9 overall and 0-8 in the SEC in 2012, finished the regular season 7-1 in the league this year and 12-1 overall. Auburn's nine-game winning streak is the second longest of any major college team.
Last week prior to the SEC Championship Game victory Malzahn received a new six-year deal to coach the Tigers.
Tre Mason has helped Auburn lead the nation in rushing yards per game this season.
Mason has rushed for 1,621 yards, including an SEC Championship Game record 304 vs. Missouri. In the BCS Championship Game vs. Florida State he will have a chance to break Bo Jackson's Auburn single-season rushing of 1,786 yards in 1985, which was Jackson's Heisman Trophy season.
With four rushing touchdowns vs. Missouri, Mason has 22 for the season, breaking Cam Newton's AU record of 20 set in 2010, Newton's Heisman Trophy winning season. Mason is one behind the SEC record set by Tim Tebow in 2007 when he won the Heisman Trophy that year.
Mason will be in New York City for the 2013 Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday. He is one of six players invited to the event. "When I heard the news, I was in disbelief," he says. "This has been such a season for our team and we are going to the national championship. For me to be invited to the Heisman ceremony, I am honored and blessed. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates; this is an honor for all of them also.”
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