Auburn lost its fifth game of the season on Saturday, getting routed at home by Arkansas in a 41-27 loss, dropping Bryan Harsin to 9-12 in his tenure has head coach.
After narrowly surviving the offseason when boosters attempted something of an athletic department coup in order to fire Harsin and bring in a different head coach, it was assumed that he would need to orchestrate an incredible turnaround this season to save his job. Through eight games, that has clearly not happened and on Monday, Auburn announced they were firing Harsin and beginning the search process for a new head coach — without even naming Harsin in the release.
breaking: Auburn has fired HC Bryan Harsin, per a release from the school pic.twitter.com/BBQeh4nOYM
— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) October 31, 2022
The announcement came less than an hour after John Cohen resigned from his athletic director post at Mississippi State to become the new athletic director at Auburn, as the Tigers appeared to want their new athletic department leader in place before making a change — but once they got that done they moved extremely quickly.
Harsin came to Auburn from Boise State where he had taken over for Chris Petersen and kept the Broncos rolling along as a Mountain West power, but he simply did not mesh with the folks in Auburn, Alabama and as they got surpassed by other SEC West squads over the past two years, the frustration mounted and he was unsurprisingly sent packing. The question now is who Auburn will target, because after trying their luck on an SEC outsider in Harsin, one would think they’ll look for someone from inside the SEC footprint for their next head coach.
Lane Kiffin will be a hot name after what he’s done with Ole Miss — as Auburn might be willing to dig into deep pockets to pry him away from a rival SEC school — while another former Ole Miss coach, Hugh Freeze, has been floated as a possibility for some time despite the off field headaches he produces.
Among non-former SEC coaches, Matt Rhule is suddenly available after his firing from the Panthers and his program-building expertise as shown by his time at Temple and Baylor will make him an intriguing candidate for a program that’s currently a bit in the wilderness. Deion Sanders will also get some buzz as he’s proven to be a great recruiter at Jackson State and would certainly be a splashy name for Auburn to bring in.