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Chris Low: Gus Malzahn to Stay at Auburn

ESPN's Chris Low is reporting that Gus Malzahn will turn down Vanderbilt's offer to become the team's latest head coach. Malzahn, Auburn's offensive coordinator, has decided instead to stay with the team after initial reports suggested that he'd be leaving the Tigers.

Recent speculation is centering on a bidding war between Vanderbilt and Auburn over the chance to get Malzahn. Reports suggest that the two schools traded escalating bids, beginning with a $1.5 million annual salary from Vanderbilt. Rumor has it that the Commodores' final bid was in the $2.5-3 million/year range, but it appears that Malzahn chose loyalty to Auburn over the pay increase and challenge of coaching a perennially disappointing Vandy squad.

Maryland Coordinator James Franklin has been considered the team's second-in-line for the position, though it's unsure if he'll get an offer. News of Malzahn's arrival in Nashville were originally spurred by the report that Franklin had been told that the head coach slot had been filled at Vanderbilt. What happens now is a mystery - though with no official reports on hand yet it is still unclear what exactly the situation is between Gus Malzahn and the Commodores.

UPDATE: Low's article gets upgraded from "Report:" to "Story." Looks like the coaching search will continue after David Williams takes a few minutes to drink a whole bottle of Old Grand-Dad and punch the hell out of one of the spare Mr. C suits.