The college coaching carousel started spinning early this fall.
It started a week ago when Nebraska fired head coach Scott Frost, and continued on Sunday when Arizona State became the second Power 5 team to go through a coaching change early in the season. The Sun Devils parted ways with Herm Edwards, just three games into his fifth season with the program.
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Just hours after Arizona State’s decision to cut ties with Edwards, Auburn coach Bryan Harsin’s name surfaced as a possible replacement, despite only three games remaining in the second season of his contract. sit for six years. ESPN’s Pete Thamel identified Harsin as a name to look forward to for the Sun Devils openingalong with BYU coach Kalani Sitake, former Texas coach Tom Herman, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, Marshall coach Charles Huff, North Dakota State coach Matt Entz, Kent State coach Sean Lewis, Alabama Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien , Georgia Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken, Oklahoma State (and former Auburn) Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason, and USC Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch.
It is noteworthy that Thamel also broke the news of Auburn’s hiring of Harsin in December 2020 and that he was one of the ESPN reporters Harsin turned to for an interview to defend himself during the early stages of the investigation of the university in February to his treatment of the program.
Harsin, who has spent most of his life and coaching career in the West, is 8-8 in his first 16 games at Auburn. His team is posting its first loss of the season — a 41-12 blow at the hands of Penn State that marked Auburn’s worst home loss in a decade and the team’s fifth straight loss to the Power 5 league.
While pressure has increased on Harsin since last season’s 6-7 finish – which was followed by a tumultuous offseason – he is under contract with Auburn until December 31, 2026. He signed a six-year deal of $31.5 million. on the program following Gus Malzahn’s resignation in December 2020. If he were fired before the end of that deal, Auburn would owe him 70 percent of the remainder of his contract. If Harsin leaves for another job before the end of this season, he would owe Auburn a $5 million buyout.
When asked Saturday night about his job security after the Tigers’ lopsided home loss and how he handles hot-seat talk, Harsin said he “isn’t in control” and can only control what he does each day.
“I always coach for this football team, okay, and these players, number 1,” said Harsin. “…What I’ve always done is coach this team, these players, these coaches, make sure I do my job, prepare our team and all that. I have no control over all those other things except what I do every day. It hasn’t been any different since I was a GA as head football coach; I’ve worked the same way and had the same mindset, so we make more demands on ourselves than anyone else, okay? That’s always been the case. So at the end of the day I’m disappointed with our football team, and it’s my job to make sure we put a plan in place and build a football team that can compete and play at a high level, and that’s always the expectations. The standard has to be better than what it was, and that’s really all we’re going to focus on.
“It’s the same for our football team; I tell those guys that…. I love being a part of that. I like to put plans and processes and all those things together so that we can do that. Ultimately, that’s why we get the chance to do what we do, because we’re good at it. I believe in this team, and I believe in what we do, and we have to get better at it. So in the end that’s all I’m focusing on.”
Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.
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