Auburn football has been in the news again this week, but not because of things happening on campus. Gus Malzahn, who coached Auburn from 2013-2020, was hired on Monday by UCF to be the Knights' next head coach. Malzahn signed a 5-year contract worth $11.5 million. The Knights' former coach, Josh Heupel, was recently hired away to fill the same position at Tennessee.
Malzahn went straight to work building up his UCF staff, and his first call was to a former assistant from his time on the Plains. Travis "T-Will" Williams served in a number of coaching roles for the Tigers from 2014 to 2020, working his way up from defensive analyst to linebackers coach to co-defensive coordinator. Williams also played linebacker for Auburn from 2001 to 2005, and was part of the undefeated 2004 team, when he earned first-team All-SEC honors.
After Malzahn was let go following the 2020 season, new head coach Bryan Harsin chose not to retain Williams while building his staff. Williams was initially hired to coach linebackers for the Miami Hurricanes, but left after a few short weeks in Coral Gables to take the defensive coordinator position for the Knights. The upcoming 2021 season will mark Williams' eighth consecutive season coaching under Malzahn.
For Malzahn, the UCF job will be his third head coaching position at the highest level of college football. He's accumulated a 77-38 overall record in nine years as a head coach, including eight in the SEC. The Knights went 6-4 in 2020, and will be looking to return to the level of success they achieved in 2017 and 2018, when UCF won 25 out of 26 games.