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AUBURN, AL (RNN) - Gus Malzahn has been named the head football coach at Auburn University, replacing his old boss Gene Chizik.
Auburn introduced its 26th head football coach Tuesday night during a press conference after confirming the hire in a statement earlier in the day.
"I told [the team] our expectations are to win championships," Malzahn said. "Whatever happened last year, happened last year. It's a new day. Our expectations are going to be high."
Malzahn promised "fast paced football" that "will be fun for our fans."
"We will get this thing turned around," he added.
Only a season removed from the Plains, Malzahn recruited many of the players currently on the squad and promised to hire "great men of character" to fill his coaching staff and lead his team.
"Our players are going to be great examples for this university on and off the field. They're going to be men of character ... the winning will take care of itself," he said.
Malzahn, who came to Auburn in 2009, was the offensive coordinator during Auburn's 14-0 run to the national championship in 2010. The Tigers set multiple school offensive records and Quarterback Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy.
He left Auburn in December 2011 to become head coach at Arkansas State, where he directed the Red Wolves to the 2012 Sun Belt Conference championship and a berth in GoDaddy.com Bowl.
In a statement released earlier in the day, Malzahn said he's grateful for the opportunity to return to Auburn.
"It's an outstanding institution with a storied football program that I had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand for three years," he said.
"This is a homecoming for me and I look forward to being reunited with the Auburn family."
Malzahn will bring in $2.3 million a year for the next five years.
Malzahn did not say whether he would coach the Red Wolves in the upcoming GoDaddy.com Bowl.
"Gus Malzahn is a proven winner," Athletic Director Jay Jacobs said in a statement. "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."
Malzahn previously served as offensive coordinator for Houston Nutt at Arkansas, joining the Razorbacks staff in 2006. That first season he produced one of the nation's most prolific offenses and helped Arkansas to the SEC Championship Game.
He left Arkansas for Tulsa in 2007, where his offense was first in the NCAA for two seasons before he came to Auburn to join Chizik's first staff.
He was a successful high school coach in his home state of Arkansas before entering the college coaching ranks.
Former coach Gene Chizik was fired in November after the Tigers finished with a 3-9 record two years after winning the national championship.
The team went winless in the SEC, and Chizik was officially relieved of his duties the day after rival No. 2 Alabama crushed the Tigers 49-0 in the Iron Bowl.
Malzahn said he had not spoken with Chizik since his termination.
"From afar, I take a lot of pride in Auburn and I was hurting for him," he said.
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