NCAA Football

Auburn fires Bryan Harsin: Tigers end second-year coach’s awkward and unsuccessful tenure

Auburn fires Bryan Harsin: Tigers end second-year coach’s awkward and unsuccessful tenure

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Auburn fired coach Bryan Harsin on Monday after a 41-27 loss to Arkansas, ending an awkward and unsuccessful tenure on The Plains. Harsin was relieved of his duties as the Tigers fell two games below .500 to 3-5 on the season, with the program dropping 10 of its last 13 games and nine of its last 10 against Power Five opponents that they date back to last season.

“Auburn University has decided to make a change in the leadership of the Auburn University football program,” the school said in a 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 to return the Auburn program to a place where it was consistently competing at the higher and represent. the winning tradition that is Auburn football.”

Harsin finishes 9-12 (4-9 SEC) in less than two full seasons on the job after taking over for Gus Malzahn following the 2020 campaign. Malzahn was 67-35 (38-27 SEC) in eight seasons at Auburn.

Harsin entered the 2022 season in one of the hottest seats in the country despite spending just one year on The Plains. After a 6-7 debut in 2021 that ended with five straight losses, school officials attempted a coup to oust Harsin from his position. Frustrations over roster and coaching turnover, as well as Harsin’s failure to sign a single player on the traditional National Signing Day in February, set off a week-long saga in which powerful people associated in Auburn’s athletic department tried to fire Harsin for cause. The move would have allowed those in power to avoid paying for a roughly $15 million buyout.

The effort ultimately failed. Auburn retained Harsin for a second season, even though he was by no means on solid ground. In August, athletic director Allen Greene, who was instrumental in Harsin’s hiring, announced he was leaving the program. With the Tigers needing to hire a new AD, Harsin’s survival became even more tenuous.

Auburn is in the process of hiring Mississippi State AD John Cohen in the same paper, according to various reports.

Harsin did little to ease the growing tension in Year 2. Auburn beat San Jose State by just eight points in Week 2, a win that preceded a home loss. Penn State and a wild overtime win over Missouri on a kickoff touchback. The Tigers followed with back-to-back losses to LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss and Arkansas to send Harsin packing.

A former quarterback a Boise State, Harsin, 45, came to Auburn after a successful career at his alma mater where he went 69-19 and won three Mountain West titles. His stint in Boise came after one season as a coach State of Arkansas where he went 7-5 in 2013 and won a share of the Sun Belt Championship.

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