Thanks to stunning seasons built on entirely different circumstances and history, Duke’s David Cutcliffe and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn are expected to go mano a mano for most if not all postseason coaching honors. Thanks to an announcement today, it’s now Cutcliffe 1, Malzahn 1 on the 2013 national awards circuit.
Malzahn, it was revealed, has been named as the Home Depot Coach of the Year. In his first season as the Tigers’ head coach, Malzahn has led AU to a 12-1 record, an SEC championship and a spot opposite top-ranked Florida State in the BCS title game. He’s just the second first-year coach to lead his team to a BCS title game, joining Miami’s Larry Coker in 2001.
It was a stunning turnaround on The Plains, with Malzahn’s accomplishments coming just a year after Gene Chizik was fired following a season in which the Tigers went 3-9 overall and 0-8 in the SEC. Chizik, oddly enough, won the same award following the 2010 season.
Last year’s winner was Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly.
Late last week, Cutcliffe was named the Walter Camp Coach of the Year to claim the first major national coaching honor. Cutcliffe and Malzahn are also finalists for the Eddie Robinson and Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year awards.