Auburn University President Jay Gogue said in a letter to Auburn fans late Wednesday night that there will be no “provisions” on who is the new coach Bryan Harsin can and can not have on his assistant staff, nor were such matters part of interviews with any candidate during the coaching search.
In an attempt at transparency regarding Auburn’s nine-day coaching search – who finished Tuesday with the hiring of Boise State’s Harsin, who was 69-19 in seven seasons as head coach of his alma mater and won three conference championships – Gogue insinuated that reports and rumors that the new Auburn coach’s staff and decisions would be hamstrung by Auburn curators and power brokers were false, and that such speculation was “harmful” to the search process.
In addition, Gogue noted that not all candidates who were reported to have “rejected” the Auburn job were offered the position.
UAB coach Bill Clark, a candidate who communicated with Auburn about the opening early in the week, said that wanting “complete control” over his assistant staff could have been an “obstacle” for Auburn.
“The interest I would have is to do it right, and everyone has their own version of what’s right,” Clark said. “For me, it’s complete control over my staff and all the things that come with it. I think maybe that was an obstacle for them. Once again, how far we got down the path, I do not really want to say, because I’m happy with UAB, and this is where I am. “
Here is the full letter from Dr. Gogue. Harsin’s inaugural press conference is set for 3:30 p.m. CST on Christmas Eve (Thursday).
Tomorrow we officially introduce Auburn’s new football coach, Bryan Harsin. It’s an exciting time for the Auburn family, one we can all be excited about. We have every reason to be confident of a future where our football team consistently competes at the highest levels and makes us proud on and off the pitch.
Let me start by saying thank you to Coach Malzahn for some great “highs” in Auburn football. Coach Malzahn is a man of great character, his student-athletes did well athletically and academically, and his team always played by the rules. In every respect he represented Auburn with class and distinction. Thank you, Gus and Christ. You are always members of the Auburn family.
When this process started, I asked athletics director Allen Greene to select a small group of Auburn men and women to advise and support him as we looked for a new football coach. We had a clear focus – to find a coach who will succeed at the toughest conference and who will represent Auburn well. Allen and the advisory group aimed high and hit high. They found the right man at the right time and we welcome Coach Harsin.
We are fortunate to be members of a maroon family that is passionate about our university. In the last few weeks, we have received countless emails and notes with suggestions for choosing our next coach. Let me add that I read every single one and I appreciate your enthusiasm. Every reddish-brown voice is important.
It is also important to remember that not everything that is reported or published on social media is correct when it comes to coaching searches. In fact, some of it is disruptive, inaccurate, and malicious. In our coaching search, for example, no candidates were told that there were provisions about who would serve in his coaching staff – not one. Only one counselor who actually served in the search counseling group had any role in the search process. Some candidates who allegedly “rejected” the Auburn job were never even offered the job. A candidate who made these statements never even had an interview, much less an offer.
Coach Harsin and I agree on many things, and one thing is that much of what you see and read on social media is opinions or statements that are simply not based on facts. I regret that these comments harm our university and many good red-brown people. Freedom of speech is a treasured American right, but the Auburn family should also have a right to know the facts.
Tomorrow we start a new chapter for Auburn football. We would like to thank all those who gave their input about our university and our football program, and we especially thank the Auburn family for their enthusiasm, loyalty and passion for our university. Let’s join together as we unite behind Coach Harsin and use this experience as a time of excitement and growth.
*** Subscribe: Receive the latest Auburn intel and scoops ***
*** Sign up for the Auburn Undercover Newsletter and receive FREE Auburn breaking news in your inbox. It only takes a few seconds to enter your email address ***