NCAA Football

Auburn coaching candidates: Lane Kiffin, Hugh Freeze among top choices to replace Bryan Harsin

Auburn coaching candidates: Lane Kiffin, Hugh Freeze among top choices to replace Bryan Harsin

It’s another week into the middle of the 2022 college football season, so it must have been from Auburn turn Bryan Harsin on Monday became the sixth coach firedthis after a 41-27 defeat against Arkansas that dropped him to 3-10 in his last 13 games and 1-9 in his last 10 against Power Five opponents.

Harsin’s teams were competitive but not good enough where, just in the SEC this season, Tennessee has turned be miss is making waves, and both Alabama i Georgia they are still the best of the crop.

Harsin would likely still have a job if he had beaten Bama last season. It seems like 37 years ago. In a position it finds itself in often, Auburn is ready to move on.

Athletic director Alan Greene, the man who hired Harsin, resigned a week before the season. It appears the Tigers are in the process of naming Mississippi State John Cohen in the same role.

Harsin looked like a misplaced hire from the start. A coach who had spent most of his career in the West was descending into the belly of the southern beast. In the end, he ate it. Good news for Harsin: He seems to be a good fit State of Arizona or Coloradoa couple of programs with open jobs both needing a spin.

The coaching search will be a wild one with agents trying to assign their men to extensions, raises and some big national jobs. Insiders will lobby for their man. Anything is possible in a place that has been looking for its second coach since 2020.

Auburn coaching candidates

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin: Something tells me super agent Jimmy Sexton will use this listing alone for a giant extension for Kiffin, at least. Auburn probably has more resources and more tradition than Ole Miss, but this is a big decision for Kiffin if the Tigers’ hierarchy is focused on him. That’s two shifts in a row we’ve seen Kiffin execute FAU and Ole Miss. The Rebels are off to their best start to a season since 1962. Auburn would be the toughest of the bunch because Kiffin’s old boss is on the right.

Hugh Freeze, freedom trainer: Freeze wants it so bad he’d drag himself on his hands and knees all the way to Auburn. Some might say the 53-year-old has paid his penance for misdeeds; others might disagree. More than that, though, he has been successful at Liberty going 33-12 overall with a 7-1 record in his fourth season. This is a match made in Jimmy Rane’s back room. Freeze is desperate to get back in, which gives these shady pushers some leverage over him. But the boy can train. Isn’t that what Auburn needs more than anything right now? Freeze recently agreed to a new eight-year contract that will pay him $40 million guaranteed until 2030.

Kenny Dillingham, Oregon offensive coordinator: If you want to take risks, this is your man. In 2019, when he was 29, Dillingham was the offensive coordinator on Gus Malzahn’s last good team at Auburn. The Tigers won nine games, beat three top-20 teams (including Alabama) and averaged 33 points per game. Dillingham was born on Good Nix was (16 touchdowns as a freshman). The two met at Oregon, where Nix has matured with the Ducks as a Heisman Trophy contender. There is a lot to like about Auburn if they want to be really young.

Jamey Chadwell, Coast of Carolina trainer: I’ll ask again: Why doesn’t Chadwell have a better job? Approaching the fourth anniversary of his hire, the Chanticleers are 37-20 under Chadwell with a 7-1 mark this season. Auburn would likely have Chadwell change his assistants to look more like an SEC staff, but there’s no doubting what he’s done in taking a 5-7 team in 2019 to a program that’s 29-4 since then.

Jeff Grimes, Baylor offensive coordinator: Grimes’ tie at Auburn is being the Tigers’ offensive line coach from 2009-12 under Gene Chizik. This race includes a national championship. Since then, Grimes has bounced back but has become one of the most respected playmakers in the game. In his last year as BYU offensive coordinator, the Cougars averaged over 43 points. Last season, Baylor won the Big 12 by averaging 31 points per game. offensive tackle Connor Galvin it was 12 grains. His star may have waned as the Bears fell to 5-3 this season.

Matt Rhule, former Baylor, Temple and Carolina Panthers coach: All indications are that Rhule will stop dating in 2023, review his options and maybe do some TV. This turnaround artist should be Auburn’s No. 1 target, but he’s smart enough not to get involved with The Plains meddling. His next job should be somewhere he is absolutely set up to win (think Lincoln Riley at USC). Still, Auburn needs to call and get Rhule to say no to what should be $7-8 million per year.

Deion Sanders, Jackson State trainer: On “60 Minutes” a couple of weeks ago, Coach Prime said he should “straight up” consider a Power Five job. The question: Would Auburn consider Coach Prime. We chronicle Sanders’ candidacy for a Power Five role. Despite his flamboyant exterior, he has the recruiting and tactical ability to take over a major program. Jackson State is currently fourth in FCS scoring offense and first in scoring defense.

Kevin Steele, Miami defensive coordinator: Steele is the former Auburn interim coach who some say was promised the job after Malzahn was fired. While things haven’t gone well for Miami this season, Steele’s work it is amazing. He’ll have a powerful back, but at 64, is this the guy Auburn wants to rebuild with?

Check out what our 247Sports Auburn Undercover insiders have to say about Harsin’s replacement in their Hot Board 1.0 now that the Tigers’ coaching search has officially begun.

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