Major news came out of Auburn on Friday as athletic director Allen Greene officially stepped down from his post to pursue other “professional interests”. According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Greene had five months left on his contract and both him and the university decided to part ways.
Ok, now let’s cut to the chase here. Greene’s decision to to step out of the way is the direct result of ongoing internal turmoil within the Auburn Tigers power core. This stems back to the firing of former head coach Gus Malzahn following the 2020 season, a move spurred by an alleged coup attempt by former defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. After a messy coaching search, Greene grabbed hold of the steering wheel by hiring Boise State head football coach Bryan Harsin just before Christmas. That move allegedly angered a corner of the booster core on the Plains, effectively numbering his days as the leader of Auburn athletics.
Here’s Duke athletic director Kevin White being very candid about the dysfunction at the SEC power immediately following Friday’s move:
Former Duke AD Kevin White releases a statement on Auburn AD Allen Greene’s ouster. Uses the terms “terribly disturbing,” “utterly shameful” and calls Auburn’s out Auburn’s “political dysfunction” as “truly legendary.” pic.twitter.com/f5j6zAcLH6— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 26, 2022
As is often the case, when an AD “leaves” at one of these high-profile schools, the head football coach that he hired isn’t too far behind. Following a 6-7 season in his first season with the program last year, Harsin spent the early part of the offseason fighting through a very public and very ugly coup attempt by certain power brokers within the university. Even after surviving that, he enters the 2022 campaign as one of the top hot seat candidates in the country and many have pointed to a potential loss to Penn State in Week 2 as the point where the university could make a move.
Harsin could very well save himself as long as the Tigers win and knock off a few rivals in the SEC. But it will be infinitely times more difficult without the AD who brought him to the dance in his corner.