Auburn has fired Gus Malzahn, the program announced Sunday.

“After evaluating the state of the Auburn football program, we’ve decided that it was time to make a change in leadership. We appreciate everything that Gus did for the program over the last eight seasons. We will begin a search immediately for a coach that can help the Auburn program consistently compete at the highest level,” AD Allen Greene said.

Malzahn’s contract dictates he will be owed a reported $21.45 million buyout, among the highest on record. Fifty percent of that figure, nearly $12 million, is due within 30 days.

While this move has been within the realm of possibility for anyone following the Auburn program for some time now, the move comes immediately after the Tigers closed a 6-4 regular season with a 24-10 victory over Mississippi State, making this clip below the last official act of the Malzahn era.

In eight seasons leading the program, Malzahn never missed a bowl game and took the Tigers to the SEC championship twice. His 2013 team came within a breath of winning a national championship, and his 3-5 record against Nick Saban was easily the best in the conference during that span.

But it’s not just Alabama that Auburn had to keep up with in the hyper-competitive SEC West. LSU is still the reigning national champions and Texas A&M has emerged as a legitimate threat under Jimbo Fisher, and the Tigers have now finished third or worse in the division for three straight seasons. Auburn went 4-9 against “upper crust” SEC competition over the past three campaigns.

“Coach Malzahn led the Auburn football program with honor and integrity. We appreciate his service to Auburn Athletics, Auburn University and, in particular, our student-athletes. We wish him and Kristi all the best,” said president Jay Gogue.

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.