Why Bryan Harsin Should’ve Stayed At Boise State
With hindsight being twenty-twenty, perhaps Bryan Harsin should've stayed one more year at Boise State. The program finished a disappointing 7-5, and Bronco Nation is debating whether staying home to play in the Potato Bowl is a good move. Harsin may not have been the most popular coach, but he never had a home losing record.
Harsin is now entirely under siege at his new home Auburn University. Having worked in the SEC and the Mountain West, I knew Harsin going to Auburn would be a HUGE challenge. To his credit, he had the Tigers at 6-2 during the season. However, Harsin's team lost the last four games, including a heartbreaker to Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
Famous Boise State Coaches
Paul Finebaum is the voice of college football. He is a ubiquitous presence on ESPN and every sports radio show in the South. His old program started with the phrase, "where legends are made, and most college football coaches fired." 24/7 Sports picked up Paul's comments concerning Bryan Harsin.
"The shot of him walking off the field rubbing his head was as classic as I've seen all year in college football," Finebaum said "… He was ready until the big moment came and he flat-out blew it. He quit being Bryan Harsin at the end of the game. He thought he could run the clock out on Alabama. He couldn't. …
When you lose Paul Finebaum in the South, it is not a good sign for your future employment. USA Today's Dan Wolken held nothing back in his criticism of Harsin's first year on the Plains.
"It never made sense on any level why Auburn hired Bryan Harsin last year. His seven-year run at Boise State was good, but not amazing. He'd never been in the SEC. He'd spent just two years as an assistant at a Power Five program. And dropping him into an environment like Auburn, which favors the extreme end of the SEC crazy spectrum, was riskier than a plate of undercooked turkey."
The USA Today writer speculates that Auburn would've been happy if Harsin had found a West Coast job. Unfortunately, Washington, Washington State, and USC are now filled. Wolken informs us that Harsin's buyout is eighteen million dollars, so he'll be back next year. However, concerns over his first season and a weak recruiting class have caused rabid fans and boosters to begin to pass the hat for a buyout.
We did look at why Coach Harsin should leave Auburn if Washington approached him about their once-vacant position. You can read that story here. It appears that Harsin jumped too early to get the big job. Although Auburn is a tremendous job, how is easy would life be for Harsin if he landed the USC or the Washington job? Most experts believe coaching at Washington State is not a step up from Boise State. Although, I'm sure Cougar Nation would disagree.
Whether the player liked Harsin or not, he was a winner at Boise State. Does anyone believe that a Bryan Harsin-led Boise State team would've finished less than 9-2? At a minimum, the Boise State coach would've been the top choice for the Washington Huskies job? Or maybe USC decides Harsin is a better fit than Lincoln Riley?
Harsin's decision will continue to influence the worlds of both Boise State and Auburn University. Let's hope that both programs take this off season to get back to their winning ways.