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Auburn keeps head football coach Bryan Harsin

Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 12:44 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 11, 2022 at 5:14 PM CST
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AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - Auburn has announced that head football coach Bryan Harsin will be returning after completing a university-directed inquiry into the program.

Auburn made the announcement Friday. Retiring University President Dr. Jay Gogue said in a statement the university will always take the action necessary to ensure the well-being of its students, faculty, and staff.

“I am pleased to report that the evaluation of concerns raised regarding our football program is complete. I am equally pleased to confirm that Bryan Harsin remains our head football coach.

As an institution of higher education, Auburn will always take the action necessary to ensure the well-being of its students, faculty, and staff. Recently, individuals raised concerns to my administration about the football program. The nature of these concerns compelled a fact-finding review. To do nothing would have been an abdication of the university’s responsibilities.

Over the past week, my administration conducted that review. It included meetings and interviews with current and former football coaching and administrative staff, numerous players, university administrators and other individuals who offered perspective on the issues that had been raised. To be clear, this process, which was never individual- or outcome-specific, did not yield information that should change the status of our coaching staff or football program.

All should understand that in matters such as these the roles of the university administration and the Board of Trustees are distinct and separate. To be very specific, the decisions made were mine alone as the president. The Board played no role in the fact-finding or the decision-making process.

Specific to Coach Harsin, he was completely cooperative throughout this inquiry and is equally eager to consider and address any identified issues head-on. My most recent conversations with Coach Harsin have me as convinced as ever in his commitment to our student-athletes’ on- and off-field success and his vision for our program. We are equally committed to providing him the necessary means to achieve that goal.

Unfortunately, social media fueled wild speculation, substantial misinformation and unfair attacks on good Auburn people. A feeding frenzy resulted that was beyond anyone’s control. We regret the concern, anger, frustration or hurt that this caused any member of the Auburn family.

I know the past week has been an incredibly trying time for Coach Harsin, his family and many others. Personal and intentional attacks have been publicly levied, almost all of them anonymous, without regard for their resulting, real-world ramifications. Auburn never has — and I hope never will — legitimize reckless rumors or innuendo with public comment. While Coach Harsin understands some level of public criticism comes with the job, what he and his family have endured this past week was beyond the pale. We regret the concern and anxiety this situation caused the Harsin family and the others involved.

Let me be clear — our university, the administration and the entire Board of Trustees stand behind Coach Harsin and are ready to help him succeed as the leader of our football program. It is my hope and expectation that the entire Auburn Family will join us in uniting behind Coach Harsin. With that support, I have no doubt that Auburn Football’s best days are ahead.

Every man and woman who bleeds orange and blue is treasured at Auburn. While families quarrel and disagree from time to time, we end up remembering what brings us together as one – a love for our great university. Our university has never been stronger whether it be academics, student achievement, financial stability and, yes, athletics. We applaud everyone who provides dedication, loyalty and hard work to make Auburn the truly great university it is today.”

Harsin released the following statement Friday.

“This has been one of the hardest weeks of my career and it had nothing to do with my coaching ability. The personal attacks on me and my family went too far and were without justification. Their resolve through this experience has been incredible but also completely expected. We saw and felt the worst of the worst in some people. Fortunately, we also saw the best of the best in others and we will always be grateful for the support of so many through a very difficult time – our players, staff, the Auburn family, and many others.

I know who I am as a husband, father and football coach and cooperated fully throughout this process. I believe that every challenge in life is an opportunity to grow and learn. This is no different. Every day we’re not moving forward together is a step in the wrong direction. In order for us to take the Auburn program where we all want it to go we must, at all levels, commit to each other and this great university that we all love. I’m confident we can get there under the leadership of Dr. Gogue, incoming President Roberts, Allen Greene, and our Board of Trustees.

I’m proud to be your head coach and appreciate the opportunity to lead the incredible group of young men in our locker room. War Eagle!”

Auburn men’s head basketball coach Bruce Pearl tweeted that he is happy for Harsin, his family and staff.

Auburn Director of Athletics tweeted the following Friday:

Since the end of the season, there have been multiple coaching staff changes and numerous players have entered the transfer portal. Many current and former players have also taken to social media to voice their thoughts.

Gogue addressed the rumors last Friday, stating that “we’re involved and trying to separate fact from fiction and we’ll keep you posted and make the appropriate decisions at the right time.”

On Monday, the university released a statement saying it is “judiciously collecting information” and that “we do not make institutional decisions based on social media posts or media headlines.”

Harsin later told ESPN he was committed to Auburn and isn’t “planning on going anywhere.”

Harsin was named Auburn’s 28th head football coach in December 2020. Before coming to the Plains, Harsin the last seven seasons as head coach at Boise State where he compiled a record of 69-19 while winning three Mountain West Conference titles.

He is 76-24 overall as a head coach and finished his first season at Auburn with a 6-7 record.

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