The saga surrounding the Auburn football program and head coach Bryan Harsin has reportedly taken a turn. Multiple reports on Friday have indicated that the school will retain the embattled head coach.
I believe that Bryan Harsin will be retained as the Auburn head football coach.— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) February 11, 2022
Alignment will be critical moving forward. Adjustments from all sides will be necessary.
From me a @ClowESPN: Auburn officials are expected to announce today they are keeping coach Bryan Harsin.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) February 11, 2022
Harsin had been under fire for the past two weeks for reported dysfunction within the program, stemming from assistant coaching turnover, lackluster recruiting, and complaints of treatment from former players. The school released a statement on Monday that it was collecting information on the head coach and would determine how to move forward. While their findings may have been important in the decision-making process, the $18 million buyout might have been the final factor.
Hired from Boise State in December of 2020, Harsin posted a 6-7 record in his first season with at Auburn. The Tigers lost their five games of the season, including blowing a late lead to Alabama in the Iron Bowl before falling to Houston in the Birmingham Bowl.
Word of his potential ouster began to spread last week on the heels of a tumultuous offseason defined by departures. Offensive coordinator Austin Davis stepped down after just six weeks on the job, forcing Harsin to search for his third defensive coordinator during his short tenure. On the other side of the ball, respected defensive coordinator Derek Mason left for Oklahoma State and was replaced by linebackers coach Jeff Schmedding.
On the player side of things, several standouts like starting quarterback Bo Nix and wide receiver Kobe Hudson transferred out of the program and some spoke out against the head coach. Former Auburn/current UCF defensive lineman Lee Hunter took to social media to say that the players were “treated like dogs” under Harsin, a statement that was backed up by former star safety and current NFL Draft prospect Smoke Monday. However, other players like current edge rusher Derick Hall came out in support of the embattled coach and described Harsin as a “great man of character.”
Now we wait for official word from the school.