The 47-year-old Arkansas State head coach told his team on Tuesday evening he was heading for Auburn before boarding a plane for a return to the university where he coached for three seasons as offensive coordinator.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to become the head football coach at Auburn University," Malzahn said. "It's an outstanding institution with a storied football program that I had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand for three years.
"I deeply appreciate the confidence that Dr. Gogue, Jay Jacobs and the search committee had in my ability to turn this program around and to bring Auburn back to national prominence," Malzahn added. "This is a homecoming for me and I look forward to being reunited with the Auburn family."
Malzahn led the Red Wolves to a 9-3 overall record this season as they won the Sun Belt Conference title with a 7-1 league mark in his first season as a college head coach.
"It's a pleasure to welcome Gus back to Auburn, this time as our head football coach," Auburn University President Jay Gogue said.
Dr. Jay Gogue
"We owe the search committee our gratitude for their time, expertise and dedication to Auburn," he added. "They are each distinguished graduates of this great institution and I'm grateful for their ongoing commitment. I appreciate them working so closely with Jay Jacobs as a team--a very good team."
Jacobs, Auburn's athletic director, led the search along with his committee that included Heisman Trophy winners Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson along with former player Mac Crawford. Auburn's other Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton, was personally coached by Malzahn at Auburn in 2010 as the Tigers posted a 14-0 record on the way to winning the BCS National Championship.
"We are tremendously excited that Gus Malzahn will be our next head football coach," Jacobs said. "Coach Malzahn was the clear unanimous choice of our search committee, and I am pleased that Dr. Gogue has accepted our recommendation. This is a great day for Auburn football and Auburn University.
"Gus Malzahn is a proven winner," Jacobs added. "He is without question one of the brightest minds in college football and he has won everywhere he has been. Coach Malzahn knows what it takes to build a championship program in the Southeastern Conference.
"He knows our state and region and he understands what it will take to turn our program around. Coach Malzahn will also be an outstanding ambassador for Auburn University, and that was important to the committee."
Commenting on the search committee, Jacobs said, "I want to thank each member of the committee for their tireless effort in helping us find the right man to lead our football program and represent Auburn University. They were objective, thorough and thoughtful throughout the entire process. Their one and only agenda was doing what is best for Auburn."