How A Former Boise State Coach Got Fired And is now A Millionaire
Two phrases come to mind that defines the tenure of Bryan Harsin as Auburn University's football coach. With a nod to the hit band Linkin Park, 'I tried so hard, but in the end, it didn't really matter.' Or my favorite phrase from the old Paul Finebaum Show, 'where legends are made, and most college football coaches are fired.'
Sadly, I predicted this ending to the Harsin to Auburn story when it happened. Unlike most sports/news folks in Idaho, I worked in Alabama for years and understood the challenges that now ex-Coach Harsin would face at Auburn. My only regret is that he or his staff did not reach out to me to get a scouting report.
Coach Harsin is now a multimillionaire thanks to the contract that Auburn will pay him fifteen million dollars not to coach their football team. In the end, the university said goodbye without acknowledging his name in a press release.
Auburn University has decided to make a change in the leadership of the Auburn University football program. President 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 that will return the Auburn program to a place where it is consistently competing at the highest levels and representing the winning tradition that is Auburn football.
Coach Harsin Was Mad At Boise State's lack of commitment to big time football
A great piece of investigative journalism by the BoiseDev and the Idaho Press revealed a rift within the Boise State Athletic Department. Internal emails from Harsin, the BSU president, and the former athletic director show that the coach was not pleased with the university's response to the pandemic and the anemic actions of the Mountain West Conference.
Unlike the other Group of Five conferences, the MWC does not actively engage in promoting its teams within the college football playoff system. Coach Harsin saw Boise State being left behind by staying in the MWC. Some believe his emails were the reason why Boise State replaced its athletic director.
Allen Greene Did Not Read The Room Correctly
Anyone who has ever traveled to the Plains or yelled War Eagle knows that Auburn is run by a select ruthless group of big-money donors. Gus Malzahn was the victim of a coup, and Kevin Steele was supposed to be installed as the donor's puppet.
However, someone should have told Allen Greene, who he worked for in this case. In an epic misjudgment, Greene hired Harsin and then bragged that he, not the boosters, was running the show. You never, ever beat the money men at Auburn. Greene would be shown the door less than two years after his controversial hire of Coach Harsin.
Greene's move may have been well-intentioned, but he made two mistakes. We describe the first one above. The second mistake was hiring an outsider with limited SEC experience. The SEC and the SEC West is the toughest college football conference. It's the home of unlimited resources and ground-and-pound recruiting. Coaches must be charming to boosters, brilliant at the game, and a master salesmen to recruits.
Early on, we heard reports that Coach Harsin would do it his way by not recruiting the five stars. His way could've worked, but it didn't.
Boise State Failed To Prepare Harsin for the Big Time
Boise State football is our cozy little state's only game in town. The program has enjoyed success over the years and, with that success, has been able to dictate its media coverage. Reporters who ask tough questions or don't promote the program are denied access to players and coaches. It's how smaller college football programs control the narrative. Coach Harsin did not make himself available to the public like his predecessor Chris Petersen.
Coach Harsin found out that SEC media, unlike the Boise media, would not bend the knee. The reporters in that conference are some of the best in the country. The coach couldn't dictate how his team was covered because he had never faced that type of scrutiny before in Boise. The 'Boise bubble' failed to prepare Coach Harsin for the media onslaught he would face at Auburn.
Here's an example from Joseph Goodman of AL.com on Harsin.
For now, though, there are only the final days of a terrible mistake. A zombie walks the sidelines of Jordan-Hare Stadium where the ghosts of greatness linger in sadness, and the zombie’s name is Bryan Harsin. In the role of Auburn football coach, he is a dead man walking.
Harsin started his first year going 6-2 before the wheels came off as the team lost their last games of the season. An internal coup filled with malicious and defamatory allegations failed to oust him from his job. However, the dye was cast as the former BSU coach could not summon the team to be successful this season.
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