Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has been named to the same position at UConn, the schools announced Wednesday evening.
Lashlee, 33, has agreed to a three-year contract at a base salary of $350,000 and will also serve as quarterbacks coach.
Lashlee spent the past four seasons as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator, beginning in 2013 when Gus Malzahn took over as head coach.
“Rhett has been a valuable asset to our program, helping Auburn to a national championship as a graduate assistant and another national championship appearance in 2013,” Malzahn said in a statement. “Our offenses have achieved great success and he has been a big part of that. This is a great opportunity for Rhett to implement and run his own offense.
“I’ve known Rhett for two decades and he’s a man of great character and integrity and this is another step towards his goal to become a head coach. I want to thank Rhett for all of his contributions and his friendship. I want to wish he and his wife Lauren all the best in this new endeavor.”
With the exception of 2011 when he was the offensive coordinator at Samford, Lashlee has been on the same coaching staff as Malzahn since 2004 at Springdale (Ark.) High School. Lashlee also played quarterback under Malzahn at Shiloh Christian School in Springdale, Arkansas.
At UConn, Lashlee joins a program that went 3-9 last season. In late December, the school re-hired Randy Edsall as its head coach for his second stint with the program. Previously, he served as coach from 1999-2010.
“I’m excited to be joining Coach Edsall’s staff and help him get our program to where we, our fans and student-athletes want it to be,” Lashlee said in a statement. “Randy is a proven winner and has done it here at UConn before and I’m thrilled to be a part of his staff. I’m humbled that Coach has trusted me with the opportunity to run the offense and work closely with his staff to make our fans proud of this team. Go Huskies.”
“It’s probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve made, definitely in my professional career,” Lashlee said in a statement. “Auburn’s very dear to us. I’ve spent a total of six years here, two different times. All four of our kids were born here. We just love everything about Auburn. The Auburn family is always going to be very dear to us and a part of us.
“… I’m obviously very close with Coach Malzahn. Our relationship will always be good. He’s been very supportive. I’m very appreciative to him for the opportunity he gave me at Auburn.”
Lashlee told former Auburn offensive lineman and SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic that he wanted the opportunity to “run his own offense and further develop as a coach.”
Lashlee took play-calling duties from Malzahn after the Auburn offense struggled during a 1-2 start to the season. From that point, the Tigers fared better offensively and won six of its next seven games before a two-game losing streak to end the season.
Auburn (8-5) finished 42nd in total offense (440.8 yards per game), including sixth nationally in rushing (271.31 ypg) this season. The Tigers also were 49th in scoring offense (31.2 points per game).
Last season, UConn finished 122nd nationally in total offense (320.0 yards per game), including 118th in rushing offense (117.33 yards ypg).
Junior quarterback Bryant Shirreffs led the Huskies in passing with 2,010 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions this past season; junior running back Arkeel Newsome was the team’s leading rusher with 715 yards and five touchdowns on 147 carries.
Highly touted junior college transfer Jarrett Stidham has enrolled at Auburn and is expected to help solve the Tigers’ struggles at quarterback.
(You can follow Zac Blackerby on Twitter @Zblackerby)
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.