Auburn AD gives vote of confidence to 'coach of the future' Gus Malzahn

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn coach Gus Malzahn will return next season, athletic director Allen Greene said Tuesday.

The Tigers (6-3) began the season ranked in the top 10 but have subsequently dropped out of the top 25.

Greene told reporters that Malzahn would be "our coach of the future."

"Me and Allen, we talk quite a bit," Malzahn said Wednesday on the SEC teleconference. "Of course, I've said this before, we're having a tough year this year, but we have an opportunity to finish strong. But I will say this: The future is very bright, and I'm excited to be the coach here."

Malzahn was awarded a seven-year, $49 million contract following last season, when the Tigers beat then-No. 1s Alabama and Georgia during the regular season, finishing 10-4.

This season has been much tougher sledding, as Auburn lost to unranked SEC foes Tennessee and Mississippi State. The team rebounded to beat Ole Miss and then came back from a 10-point deficit to beat Texas A&M on Saturday.

"On Sunday, you could tell it felt different from a confidence perspective," Malzahn said.

If Malzahn's contract were to be terminated, his buyout as of Dec. 1 would be $32 million (75 percent of what remains on his contract). Per his contract, 50 percent of that ($16 million) would be owed to Malzahn within 30 days.

Auburn travels to No. 6 Georgia on Saturday and finishes the regular season on Nov. 24 at No. 1 Alabama.

ESPN's Chris Low and Sam Khan contributed to this report.