New Auburn OC, Chip Lindsey, climbs high school ranks

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

AUBURN – Chip Lindsey has had a storied coaching career and is now headed back home to the state of Alabama where he has seen so much of his success.

The now former Arizona State offensive coordinator is headed back to Alabama after being named to the same position at Auburn University.

“Being from here and the experience I had here (at Auburn) before, it really was a dream come true for me and an easy decision,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey

Lindsey

During his career, Lindsey has turned heads at several different levels of football, and on a local level he led the Spain Park Jaguars to their first Class 6A regional championship in program history. He had a two-year stint with the Jags from 2011-2012 and also coached under Rush Propst as cross-town rival Hoover’s offensive coordinator in 2007.

He came to Spain Park from Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia where he coached the Trojans to their first perfect season and region championship in school history.

Lindsey has coached at seven different Alabama high schools and graduated from Bob Jones.

“In high school you’re doing a good job of recruiting your own school to get the best athletes out, and you have to get them to buy into those things and that’s how I came up,” Lindsey said of coaching high school athletes. “But I think when you get to big time high school football and college football you have to be able to run the ball to win.”

This was part of the transition he learned in coaching Spain Park in high classification high school football and moving into the college ranks.

His college experience is also impressive. Having graduated from the University of North Alabama, he got his first college gig at Troy University as the quarterback’s coach before he left for Spain Park.

After that three-year stretch with Troy and Spain Park, Lindsey went on to become an offensive analyst for his new employer, the Auburn Tigers, where he spent the 2013 football season. This is where his coaching career really soared to the next level.

“I came to Auburn in 2013 to be with coach Malzahn to see how he did things because my background was a little different,” Lindsey said of the 2013 season with the Tigers.

With Auburn winning an SEC Championship in that one year and playing for a National Championship, people were starting to notice Lindsey a little bit more. It took one year on the plains for him to prove he was worthy of a higher position, and in 2014 he took over as the offensive coordinator and quarterback’s coach at Southern Miss where he coached former Spain Park standout Nick Mullens.

After two seasons in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Lindsey moved up again to take the Arizona State offensive coordinator gig. He spent one season with the Sun Devils before Gus Malzahn came calling.

With Rhett Lashlee leaving Auburn for the University of Connecticut to become their new offensive coordinator, Malzahn had an opening and clearly wanted somebody who had taken a similar path to him.

Just like Lindsey, Malzahn spent a chunk of time at the high school level, 14 seasons to be exact, and led seven teams to a state title, winning three of them.

One thing Malzahn has struggled to get at Auburn during his tenure is a solid quarterback. He was the offensive coordinator to Cam Newton, but since taking over as head coach he has had guys like Nick Marshall, Jeremy Johnson and Sean White, all of which were lacking some form of the position.

“I just felt like I needed to find somebody who could develop and evaluate quarterbacks,” Malzahn said of the hire. “I also wanted somebody I felt comfortable turning the offense over to and had a fit in the same philosophy as me.”

Auburn got a lot of flak for their offense this past season, but ranked 43rd in the country in total offense, a solid 38 spots higher than Lindsey’s Arizona State offense. At Southern Miss in 2015, however, he had one of the top offenses in the country and one of the best quarterback’s in Nick Mullens.

“I have actively seen him develop quarterbacks,” Malzahn said. “He is very good at evaluating quarterbacks and I trust him with our offense.”

Malzahn said with a laugh that he has retired his offensive clipboard and all offensive play calling will go through Lindsey. Lindsey said he was hired to do that job and he is excited to get to it.

If Lindsey’s current trend continues, he will impress the Auburn coaching staff and fan base within two years.