Gus Malzahn has officially begun his tenure as the head football coach for the UCF Knights. The former Auburn coach was announced as the program’s new leader in a press conference on Monday.
Malzahn will bring a plethora of SEC experience to an AAC school looking to bounce back from an underwhelming year in 2020. The Knights went 6-4 under Josh Heupel, who left to take the Tennessee job earlier this winter.
On Wednesday night, Malzahn got his first chance to speak to UCF fans in person. At a stoppage in play, during the first half of a Knights basketball game, the new head coach gave a short address about his vision for the program. He also introduced his new defensive coordinator, Travis Williams.
“I am truly honored to be your head football coach. We’re going to be the future of college football. We’re gonna continue to play fast and we’re continue to be a top-10 offense in the country…” Malzahn said, courtesy of Brian Murphy. “… We’re also gonna play top-10 defense in the country. We’re in the process of hiring our staff and we are going to recruit the state of Florida like our hair is on fire. We’re looking forward to see you at the first game. Everybody buckle up, we’re fixin’ to get it done.”
— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) February 18, 2021
Fans burst into applause after nearly every sentence Malzahn said, signaling that the hire is already going over well at UCF. And for good reason.
Malzahn, 55, went 68-35 in eight years at Auburn, becoming one of the few head coaches to challenge Nick Saban’s supremacy in the SEC. Although he failed to meet expectations with the Tigers in 2020, he’s still regarded as one of the strongest leaders in college football.
At UCF, Malzahn will have a chance to build and sustain one of the best Group of Five programs in the country.