Rhett Lashlee, who served as offensive coordinator at Arkansas State this past season, has been named offensive coordinator at Auburn, head coach Gus Malzahn announced Friday. Lashlee has spent six of the last nine seasons working closely with Malzahn and his offense in a variety of capacities, including the 2009 and 2010 seasons as an offensive graduate assistant at Auburn.
"Rhett is one of the best young offensive minds in college football," said Malzahn. "I've been with Rhett a long time and he's been an incredibly valuable right-hand man. He has a great knowledge and understanding of Auburn and will be a tremendous asset for this program both on and off the field."
This season at Arkansas State, Lashlee, who was a Broyles Award nominee as the nation's top assistant coach, helped guide Arkansas State to a Sun Belt Championship, while ranking 17th nationally in total offense (481.8 ypg), 21st in scoring offense (36.4 ppg) and rushing offense (217.4 ypg).
Under Lashlee, school and conference record-setting quarterback Ryan Aplin, was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year after leading the league in passing yards, passing efficiency, and total offense. Aplin was 18th nationally in passing efficiency, throwing for 23 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2012 after throwing 19 TDs and 16 interceptions the season before Lashlee's arrival.
"We're very excited to be back in Auburn to rejoin this program and the Auburn family, which has the best fans in the country" Lashlee said. "I'm looking forward to working with Coach Malzahn and help get this team headed in the right direction and return to winning football. Auburn holds a special place in my family's heart, as this is where our twin boys were born, so we are blessed to be back. I'm excited to get to work."
Prior to his tenure at Arkansas State, Lashlee served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Samford in 2011.
At Samford, Lashlee spent installed a high-tempo offense that improved the Bulldogs national ranking in total offense from No. 57 in the nation to No. 36 over the course of just one year, while helping the Bulldogs average 28 points per game compared to 17 a game the previous year.
He helped Samford post a 6-5 record, including a 4-4 Southern Conference mark in 2011, matching their best ever as a member of the league. Samford broke the school record for points scored in a league game with 52 against Western Carolina as Lashlee helped the school jump from No. 100 in the nation in scoring offense to No. 43.
Lashlee, 29, coached Samford wide receiver Kelsey Pope, who broke the school record for receptions in a game, while quarterback Dustin Taliaferro broke Samford's career record for completions during the 2011 campaign as well.
While at Auburn, Lashlee assisted Malzahn with all aspects of the offense and coached the slot receivers in 2010. In 2009, the Tigers finished 8-5 winning the Outback Bowl. During the 2010 season he helped the Tigers finish 14-0, winning the Southeastern Conference championship and the BCS National Championship behind Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton.
Prior to working at Auburn, Lashlee's college coaching career began in 2006 at Arkansas, where he served as offensive student graduate assistant while working with Malzahn. He helped lead the Razorbacks to a 10-4 record and an SEC Western Division championship behind Heisman Trophy runner-up Darren McFadden and fellow All-American Felix Jones. Lashlee worked with Malzahn at Springdale High School in Arkansas in 2004 and 2005, working with the quarterbacks and 2005 Gatorade, Parade Magazine and Rivals.com National Player of the Year Mitch Mustain.
Lashlee was a backup quarterback at the University of Arkansas from 2002-04, when his career was cut short due to a shoulder injury.
Prior to attending Arkansas, Lashlee graduated from Shiloh Christian High School in Springdale, Ark. in 2002. He played quarterback for Malzahn at Shiloh Christian High School from 1999-2001, posting a state-record 40 career wins (40-3-2 as a starter) while leading his team to three straight state championship game appearances that included two state titles. He was also named the 2001 AP Arkansas Player of the Year.
Lashlee owns virtually every state passing record and when his career had finished he had broken the national record for career touchdown passes (171), career touchdowns (200), most passing yards in a game (672) and was second with 13,201 passing yards.
Lashlee graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2006 with a degree in Marketing and Business Administration. He received his master's degree in Higher Education from Auburn in 2009.
Lashlee is married to the former Lauren Lee of Rogers, Ark., and they have two-year old twin boys, Thomas Price and Hudson Rhett.