Gus Malzahn to stay at Auburn

Vanderbilt made an aggressive push for Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, but Malzahn has decided to stay at Auburn, receiving a raise and a contract extension that will make him the highest-paid assistant coach in the SEC and one of the highest in the country, a source said Monday.

Malzahn, in his second season at Auburn, had emerged as Vanderbilt's top target and was offered a lucrative financial package. After mulling it over for the past two days, Malzahn decided it was best he stay put.

"Gus Malzahn has played a large role in the success of our football program the last two years and we're very pleased to be able to give him a raise and extend his contract," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said in a statement Monday. "In my opinion we have the best staff in the country, and while we want our coaches to strive to become head coaches, retaining them as long as we can is important to me and the entire Auburn family."

Malzahn was making $500,000 under his old contract and will more than double that with a new multiyear deal, which will pay him in the range of $1.3 million per year, the source said.

"I'm very appreciative of Coach Chizik and the entire administration for their support," Malzahn said in the statement. "My family and I love Auburn and right now my main focus is helping Auburn win a national championship."

The Tigers, who will play next month in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game, are ranked sixth nationally in scoring offense and seventh nationally in total offense. They're averaging 42.7 points per game.

Malzahn has quickly gained the reputation as one of the most innovative offensive minds in the college game. He was named the Broyles Award winner this season as the top assistant coach in the country.

With Malzahn out of the picture, Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin is thought to be the front-runner for the Vanderbilt head job.

Chris Low covers SEC football for ESPN.com.