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Bryan Harsin: Inquiry into Auburn program ‘unfounded’

Jul 21, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bryan Harsin shown on the stage during SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin on Thursday called the February inquiry into his football program a personal attack and “unfounded.”

Harsin wasted little time addressing the February inquiry, taking it head-on in his opening remarks at SEC Media Days in Atlanta.

“There was an inquiry. It was uncomfortable. It was unfounded. It presented an opportunity for people to personally attack me, my family, and also our program. And it didn’t work,” Harsin said, adding that it would be the last time he talks about “this subject.”

The university spent roughly one week looking into the reasons behind the departure of about 20 players to the transfer portal. Five assistant coaches also left the Tigers, who finished 6-7 in Harsin’s first season with the program in 2021.

Harsin’s treatment of players and coaches was the focus of the inquiry. A variety of current and former players spoke out on social media, both in support of and against Harsin.

“What it did is it united our football team, our players, our staff,” Harsin added. “I’m really proud of our guys. … We had coaches and players that could have went to different places, avoided all the adversity and challenges. They didn’t do that.”

Harsin talked about evaluation of the program and himself, stressing the importance of “communication and relationship with your players and your coaches.”

“You go back, evaluate, how did I do those things, how did I lead,” Harsin said. “Really you want to evaluate, did the message get across and get executed. The vision that was provided, was that being executed like I expected it, and did I provide the right expectations and standards for those things.”

Auburn hired Harsin to replace Gus Malzahn after the 2020 season. Harsin compiled a 69-19 record as the head coach at Boise State from 2014-20.

Auburn opens the 2022 season at home against Mercer on Sept. 3.

–Field Level Media