When the Gus Malzahn to Vanderbilt rumors first broke, my initial reaction was to dismiss the whole thing as utter nonsense. Arguably the most highly-sought after offensive coordinator going to... the token nerd school in the most competitive football conference in the country? No way. I'm still thinking that largely holds true, but having said that, according to the Tennessean:
Auburn coordinator Gus Malzahn, who was in town Wednesday, is thought to have received another offer from Vanderbilt that approaches the ballpark of $3 million per year.
Still, surely not, right? First off, are we really going to believe that Vanderbilt -- Vanderbilt -- is holding out three million bucks a year for a head coach, much less one with zero head coaching experience and only five years removed from the Arkansas high school football scene? I suppose it's possible, but that just seems like a stretch.
And on Malzahn's end, Vandy? Really? I tend to think that a lot of these coordinators get over-hyped and probably don't actually generate the interest in head coaching gigs that many talking heads think they do, but surely Malzahn could do better than Vandy, couldn't he? I'm not saying he's in line to take over at Florida, mind you, but you would think he could at least get his foot in the door at a mid-tier BCS conference school like Pitt, Ole Miss, West Virginia, or something along those lines. Even realizing that he may not be getting the overtures that some people may assume, I still have a hard time thinking that he would settle for a school like Vandy.
My thought here is that if this is in any way legitimate -- both the money offered by Vanderbilt and the interest on Malzahn's end -- it has to be driven by raw dollar signs more than anything else. I know it's easy to think of people in line for these jobs to have already cashed in and made large amounts of money, but honestly Malzahn probably never broke 100,000 a year at Springdale, and probably never got over 150,000 anywhere until arriving in Auburn last year. He probably doesn't have cash bursting from the seams, and in that event three million dollars a year is a massive chunk of change.