Auburn football coach Bryan Harsin oversees a polarising and “dysfunctional” programme.
According to many people with intimate knowledge of the Auburn football program’s inner workings, Bryan Harsin developed a contentious atmosphere in his first season as coach, in which relationships with select players were disregarded and staff members felt overlooked.
Because they were afraid of penalties from Harsin or others at Auburn, The Montgomery Advertiser, part of the USA TODAY Network, offered them anonymity.
The Tigers’ programme has been scrutinised from the inside throughout Harsin’s brief career with the team, which started last season when he was hired after seven seasons at Boise State.
At a board of trustees meeting on Friday, Auburn president Jay Gogue said, “There have been a lot of rumours and a lot of allegations made about our football program.” I just want you to know 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 Thursday night, Harsin, 45, informed ESPN.com that he is Auburn’s head coach and is working in that role.
One source told The Advertiser that “the head coach is at the root of all the problems in the (Auburn) program.” “He was unkind to the players and coaches. He was unable to relate to the players. He wasn’t being sincere. He also got rid of a lot of his greatest players. “
Harsin’s programme was regarded as “toxic” and “dysfunctional” by the individual.
Harsin’s popularity among players is divided. On Friday, some vehemently defended him on social media, while others criticised him as a coach who failed to “understand kids that come from nothing,” as graduating safety Smoke Monday put it.
On Monday, who has declared for the NFL draught, said on Instagram, “Harsin is a heck of a coach that wants to win.” He honestly doesn’t understand kids who come from nothing, kids who grow up in the ghetto… yet as kids, we try our hardest to outgrow where we came from, but we need people who didn’t grow up the way we did to assist us.
Auburn did not reply to The Advertiser’s request for comment on Friday.
The debate started with a post on Instagram by defensive lineman Lee Hunter, who transferred to Central Florida on Friday morning. The reason I opted to leave Auburn (was) because we were treated like we weren’t good enough (broken heart emoji) and like dogs (broken heart emoji)… Coach Harsin has the correct attitude for a winner but has a bad perspective as a person,” the letter said in part.
A current player, speaking on the condition of anonymity to The Advertiser on Friday, stated in a direct message that “we don’t get treated like dogs” and that the schism is due to certain players’ being “simply not accustomed to his attitude.”
“Don’t trust what you see,” tweeted edge Derick Hall on Friday. “@CoachHarsin works harder than anybody else to put our programme in the best possible position to succeed… A great man of character who really cares about this team! “
Since the completion of the season, 19 Auburn players have joined the transfer portal, a significant number for a power five team in the SEC, the nation’s most competitive football league.
According to several sources, Harsin allegedly refused to talk to athletes he didn’t like when he wanted them out of the programme. He would stop communicating with the athlete and his family. Position coaches were entrusted with advising players on whether or not they should continue in the programme.
One participant speculated, “He’ll send someone else to perform the dirty job.”
Another player texted Harsin to apologise for a bad performance in a game, according to another source. The athlete sought advice on how to enhance his game. Harsin remained silent. Instead, he had the player’s position coach phone him to inform him that he needed to quit the programme, according to the source.
“There are occasions when players are dealing with personal issues that (Harsin) is aware of, and he lacks empathy for such circumstances,” one source added. “Whether it’s a child from a single-parent home or a child who is going through a difficult time in life, I don’t believe he really cares about children. “
How can you expect a young guy to develop if you don’t even speak to them, or if you talk down to them, or if you order them to leave your office? Another individual said.
According to one source, Harsin despised the concepts of name, image, and resemblance and made this apparent to the players. Harsin was especially critical of players from low-income families who earned money via NIL agreements, according to another source, since he believed they lost their concentration on sport.
During Harsin’s first season, which concluded with a 6-7 record, there were a lot of coaching changes. It was the first time the programme had lost a season since 2012. Auburn has dropped its past five games after a 6-2 start.
Derek Mason, who was appointed as defensive coordinator at the outset of Harsin’s tenure, departed for the same post at Oklahoma State after one season. After one season as offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo was sacked. Austin Davis, Bobo’s successor, quit after 43 days. Nick Eason, the defensive line coach, departed for Clemson in early January.
According to several people familiar with the programme, Harsin was often quick to ignore suggestions from assistants. Cornelius Williams, a young and renowned receivers coach from Alabama who had spells at Troy, South Alabama, North Alabama, Jacksonville State, and UAB, was dismissed four games into the season.
..Harsin couldn’t afford to lose a coach who had a good rapport with the players because of this choice.
One individual said, “(Williams) did nothing but do his dang job.” “He had a fantastic rapport with the guys.”
Harsin replaced him with offensive analyst Eric Kiesau, who had worked for Harsin as an assistant coach at Boise State. When Mason departed for Oklahoma State in January, Harsin elevated Jeff Schmedding, a former Boise State assistant, to linebackers coach.
Harsin added during his statements on Thursday that “any assault on my reputation is crap” and that he had no plans to leave.
Harsin remarked, “I’m the Auburn coach, and that’s how I operate every day.” “I want this to succeed, and I’ve made it clear to our players and everyone else that there is no Plan B.”