Oct 29, 2022; Auburn, Alabama, USA;  Auburn Tigers head coach Bryan Harsin looks at the scoreboard during the fourth quarter in Jordan-Hare Stadium.  The Tigers lost to the Arkansas Razorbacks 41-27. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn fires coach Bryan Harsin after 21 games

Auburn fired football coach Bryan Harsin on Monday after a tumultuous 21 games and a day before his 46th birthday.

The Tigers in the throes of a four-game losing streak, losing the past three by a combined 60 points. Harsin is done after a 9-12 record (4-9 SEC).

“Auburn University has decided to make a change in the leadership of the Auburn University football program,” the school said in a one-paragraph statement. “President Christopher Roberts made the decision after a thorough review and evaluation of all aspects of the football program. Auburn will begin an immediate search for a coach that will return the Auburn program to a place where it is consistently competing at the highest levels and representing the winning tradition that is Auburn football.”

An interim coach was not announced.

The move comes the same day that Auburn is expected to announce the hiring of John Cohen as its new athletic director.

Harsin reportedly is owed more than $15 million on the remainder of his contract, half due in 30 days.

Auburn hired Harsin to replace Gus Malzahn after the 2020 season. Harsin compiled a 69-19 record as the head coach at Boise State from 2014-20.

However, he was subjected to an internal inquiry in February. Auburn looked into the reasons behind the departure of about 20 players to the transfer portal. Five assistant coaches also left the Tigers, who finished 6-7 in Harsin’s first season with the program in 2021.

Since then, however, Auburn president Jay Gogue retired in May and the school mutually parted ways with athletic director Allen Greene in August.

Auburn travels to Mississippi State this week. The only wins for the Tigers (3-5) this season were against Mercer, San Jose State and Missouri, all in September.

–Field Level Media

Jul 21, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bryan Harsin shown on the stage during SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Bryan Harsin: Inquiry into Auburn program ‘unfounded’

Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin on Thursday called the February inquiry into his football program a personal attack and “unfounded.”

Harsin wasted little time addressing the February inquiry, taking it head-on in his opening remarks at SEC Media Days in Atlanta.

“There was an inquiry. It was uncomfortable. It was unfounded. It presented an opportunity for people to personally attack me, my family, and also our program. And it didn’t work,” Harsin said, adding that it would be the last time he talks about “this subject.”

The university spent roughly one week looking into the reasons behind the departure of about 20 players to the transfer portal. Five assistant coaches also left the Tigers, who finished 6-7 in Harsin’s first season with the program in 2021.

Harsin’s treatment of players and coaches was the focus of the inquiry. A variety of current and former players spoke out on social media, both in support of and against Harsin.

“What it did is it united our football team, our players, our staff,” Harsin added. “I’m really proud of our guys. … We had coaches and players that could have went to different places, avoided all the adversity and challenges. They didn’t do that.”

Harsin talked about evaluation of the program and himself, stressing the importance of “communication and relationship with your players and your coaches.”

“You go back, evaluate, how did I do those things, how did I lead,” Harsin said. “Really you want to evaluate, did the message get across and get executed. The vision that was provided, was that being executed like I expected it, and did I provide the right expectations and standards for those things.”

Auburn hired Harsin to replace Gus Malzahn after the 2020 season. Harsin compiled a 69-19 record as the head coach at Boise State from 2014-20.

Auburn opens the 2022 season at home against Mercer on Sept. 3.

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2021; Birmingham, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bryan Harsin during the second half against the Houston Cougars during 2021 Birmingham Bowl at Protective Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Auburn coach Bryan Harsin to keep his job

Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin will keep his job after a university inquiry into the football program, ESPN reported.

An official announcement is expected to come Friday.

Auburn spent at least the past week looking into the reasons behind the departure of about 20 players to the transfer portal. Five assistant coaches also left the Tigers, who finished 6-7 in Harsin’s first season with the program in 2021.

“The Auburn administration is judiciously collecting information from a variety of perspectives, including our student-athletes, and moving swiftly to understand any issues in accordance with university policies and procedures,” the university said in a statement issued Monday.

“Decisions regarding the future of Auburn and its Athletics programs, as always, are made in the interests of our great university and in fairness to all concerned.”

ESPN said Harsin met with officials conducting the inquiry on Wednesday before he attended the SEC head coaches meeting on Thursday in Birmingham, Ala.

Harsin’s treatment of players and coaches was the focus of the inquiry, ESPN said. Last week, a variety of current and former players spoke out on social media, both in support of and against Harsin.

Per ESPN, the school was investigating whether there was reason to fire Harsin with cause. If Auburn were to fire him without cause, he would be owed $18.3 million — 70 percent of the money left on his contract.

Auburn hired Harsin, 45, to replace Gus Malzahn after the 2020 season. Harsin compiled a 69-19 record as the head coach at Boise State from 2014-20.

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2021; Birmingham, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bryan Harsin during the first half of the 2021 Birmingham Bowl against Houston at Protective Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn ‘collecting information’ on coach Bryan Harsin

Auburn confirmed Monday it is gathering intel on football coach Bryan Harsin in the wake of multiple departures by players and staff members.

At least 18 players have entered the transfer portal and five assistant coaches have left the Tigers, who finished 6-7 in Harsin’s first season with the program in 2021.

“The Auburn administration is judiciously collecting information from a variety of perspectives, including our student-athletes, and moving swiftly to understand any issues in accordance with university policies and procedures,” read the Auburn statement.

“Decisions regarding the future of Auburn and its Athletics programs, as always, are made in the interests of our great university and in fairness to all concerned. We do not make institutional decisions based on social media posts or media headlines.”

Auburn president Jay Gogue addressed the situation at a board of trustees meeting last Friday.

“There have been a lot of rumors and speculation about our football program,” Gogue said. “I just want you know we’re trying to separate fact from fiction. We’ll keep you posted and make the appropriate decision at the right time.”

Earlier this month, offensive coordinator Austin Davis left the program only six weeks after getting hired. Among the players to transfer were quarterback Bo Nix, a three-year starter, and veteran running back Shaun Shivers.

Harsin told ESPN that players and coaches left for a variety of reasons, including better opportunities to play with another program or a new job. He refuted any accusations of mistreatment.

“Any attack on my character is bulls–,” Harsin said. “None of that is who I am.”

Harsin told ESPN he intends to be back for a second season.

“I’m the Auburn coach, and that’s how I’m operating every day,” he said. “I want this thing to work, and I’ve told our players and told everybody else there is no Plan B. I’m not planning on going anywhere. This was and is the job. That’s why I left the one I was in, to come here and make this place a championship program and leave it better than I found it.”

Harsin, 45, compiled a 69-19 record as the head coach at Boise State from 2014-20 before being hired to replace Gus Malzahn.

Harsin’s contract runs through the 2026 season at an average of $5.25 million per season. According to the Associated Press, Auburn would owe Harsin 70 percent of the remaining value — about $18 million — if he were fired without cause.

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2021; Birmingham, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bryan Harsin during the first half of the 2021 Birmingham Bowl against Houston at Protective Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Bryan Harsin’s future muddy at Auburn

Officials at Auburn are reviewing the first year of the Bryan Harsin era amid the transfer of 20 players and departure of five assistant coaches, and whether the football coach returns for a second season suddenly seems in question.

“There have been a lot of rumors and speculation about our football program,” Auburn president Jay Gogue said at a board of trustees meeting Friday. “I just want you know we’re trying to separate fact from fiction. We’ll keep you posted and make the appropriate decision at the right time.”

Earlier this week, Auburn offensive coordinator Austin Davis left the program just a month after getting hired — the latest question mark within the program. Among the players to transfer were quarterback Bo Nix, a three-year starter, and veteran running back Shaun Shivers.

ESPN reported that high-ranking administrators at Auburn have spoken with some of the people who have departed the university. Harsin’s treatment of players and assistant coaches seems to be the focus.

Harsin told ESPN in an interview late Thursday that players and coaches left for a variety of reasons, including better opportunities to play with another program or a a new job. He refuted accusations of mistreatment.

“Any attack on my character is bulls—,” Harsin said. “None of that is who I am.”

Former and current players have started to take sides in the matter, sharing their experiences with Harsin on social media on Friday.

Lee Hunter, a defensive lineman, is one of them. One of the top commits in the 2021 class, he transferred to UCF, coached by Gus Malzahn, whom Harsin replaced.

He said he left Auburn “because we got treated like we wasn’t good enough and like dogs,” adding Harsin “has the true mindset for a winner but has a terrible mindset as a person.”

Safety Smoke Monday, who declared for the NFL draft, backed up Hunter’s post.

“Love auburn to death but this is real and true and I was at auburn for 4 years and it never felt like how it felt this past season. … he (Harsin) truly don’t understand kids that come from nothing,” Monday responded to Hunter.

Derick Hall, a defensive end, threw his support behind his coach and told the Auburn community not to believe what they were hearing and reading.

“We are behind him 100% no matter what’s being said,” Hall tweeted. “Great man of character who loves this team.”

Chandler Wooten, a linebacker entering the draft, agreed.

“We didn’t need a best friend we needed a coach … that’s what we had,” he posted to social media.

The Tigers finished 6-7 last year in Harsin’s first season, hired after a successful tenure at Boise State that included a 69-19 record.

He told ESPN he intends to be back for a second season.

“I’m the Auburn coach, and that’s how I’m operating every day,” Harsin, 45, said. “I want this thing to work, and I’ve told our players and told everybody else there is no Plan B. I’m not planning on going anywhere. This was and is the job. That’s why I left the one I was in, to come here and make this place a championship program and leave it better than I found it.”

One source told ESPN it might not be that simple for Harsin.

“It all gets back to people and the way they were mistreated,” one source told ESPN. “There’s a reason so many people have left. You just don’t see that many people at one school leave, not in one year. It’s a mess.”

–Field Level Media

Jul 22, 2021; Hoover, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bryan Harsin speaks to the media during SEC Media Days at Hyatt Regency Birmingham. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin tests positive for COVID-19

Auburn announced Friday that head football coach Bryan Harsin tested positive for COVID-19 and will be isolating at home.

Harsin, 44, is asymptomatic and was said to have tested positive on Thursday. In July, he declined to reveal his vaccination status when asked.

He is in his first season at Auburn after serving as the head coach at Boise State for the past seven seasons. Harsin will turn over in-person head coaching duties to assistant head coach Jeff Schmedding.

“As we have navigated through the pandemic, contingency plans have been in place should a situation like this arise,” Harsin said in a release. “We prepared for this.”

Auburn opens its 2021 season Sept. 4 at home against Akron.

“Just like in a game, teams that handle adversity and make necessary adjustments are those that are most successful,” Harsin said. “I have full confidence in our coaching staff and team. I know they will continue to prepare with the same intensity and focus that they have since camp started.”

In eight seasons as a head coach, Harsin is 76-24 with both Arkansas State and Boise State, while going 4-2 in bowl games, all with Boise State. He was 7-5 in 2013 at Arkansas State before moving on to coach the Broncos.

–Field Level Media