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Gus Malzahn reportedly front-runner for Tar Heels job

Gus Malzahn AP

At various points last December, Gus Malzahn was reportedly on the verge — or had become — the head coach at Vanderbilt and then Maryland.  Malzahn ultimately stayed with Auburn as its offensive coordinator, albeit with a bit heftier bank account.

Nearly a year later, it’s déjà vu all over again.

Malzahn’s name has been connected to the opening at North Carolina for weeks, if not months, and is viewed by those close to the situation as a very viable permanent replacement for Butch Davis.  Now, is reporting that Malzahn has emerged as the clear front-runner for the Tar Heels job.

There has been speculation that a new head coach at UNC, whether it be Malzahn or another candidate, could be named the first week of December, if not sooner.

In addition to UNC, Malzahn has also been mentioned in connection to Ole Miss as well as Arizona.  The coordinator was asked about all of the speculation swirling around his coaching future, and, as expected, said he was only focused on the job at hand.

“You know the only thing I’ve done, we’ve got two more games and I’ve got to do the best job I’ve done since I’ve been here and that’s my focus, my only focus,” Malzahn said.

Along with Malzahn, Houston’s Kevin Sumlin and Southern Miss’ Larry Fedora have been prominently mentioned as possibilities. reported Wednesday that Boise State’s Chris Petersen was far and away the top choice for new athletic director Bubba Cunningham, but that appears to be nothing more than pipe dream for the university.

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6 Responses to “Gus Malzahn reportedly front-runner for Tar Heels job”
  1. worldofwinning says: Nov 16, 2011 7:27 PM

    I didn’t think he was going to be as popular for a head coaching job this year, but UNC seems like a good spot for him

  2. vols84 says: Nov 16, 2011 10:46 PM

    How epic would it be for malzahn to replace Nutt at Ole Miss, given their history.

  3. dcroz says: Nov 17, 2011 7:02 AM

    Malzahn turned down a couple of jobs last year–including Vanderbilt–to wait for bigger and better offers. If he is offered either Ole Miss or UNC, he should take it. Both are places where expectations are moderate; as long as he wins 7-8 games a year and goes to decent bowls with regularity, he would have a job for as long as he wants it. Plus, he’s on his way to bookending his 14-0 National Championship run with a pair of 5-loss regular seasons, so should strike while the iron is still hot or risk becoming another Norm Chow.

  4. woebegong says: Nov 17, 2011 8:58 PM

    I think he could help Ole Miss. get respectful, if he is a good enough recruiter. They need a lot of spots filled, so it would test his worth right off the bat, rebuilding that program. Huston Nutt couldn’t do it with 36 recruits promised each year, so I am not sure Malzahn could do it with 25 now, Might be a few years building the team up.

  5. mrslay1 says: Nov 17, 2011 10:04 PM

    Malzahn should wait for a better job. NC would be good for him in the ACC or maybe Arizona. SEC west is to tough for a first time coach and Old Miss just doesn’t have the support it takes to play with the big boys. Only with the top coach’s in the country can you win and that takes big money and firsh rate facilities. And 2.5 mil don’t get it done these day’s. Malzahn could go to the big 12 or pac 12 or ACC or Big East and win. Of coarse so can Houston Nutt.

  6. cfbfaninbadnfltown says: Nov 19, 2011 11:49 AM

    Why aren’t NFL teams beating this guys door down? He’d certainly be an upgrade over what 6-7 teams have right now. Just ask any Redskins fan.

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