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Report: Auburn Expected to Retain Head Coach Bryan Harsin

Auburn is expected retain coach Bryan Harsin despite significant rumors that the program was prepared to move on from him after just one season.

ESPN's Pete Thamel and Chris Low report that the school is set to announce Harsin's return for a second year on the plains. 

SEC Network's Cole Cubelic, a former Auburn football player, also says that he believes Harsin will be back.

Harsin was 6–7 in his first season with the school, which included a five-game losing streak to end the season.

The decision comes after weeks of scrutiny, which included upwards of 20 players and five assistant coaches electing to leave the football program.

The evaluation of Harsin’s job came to a head last week, as offensive coordinator Austin Davis resigned from his position for personal reasons. Davis had only been on the job for six weeks and left the program without ever coaching a game.

The Davis departure was made worse by the fact that his exit came on the heels of defensive coordinator Derek Mason leaving for Oklahoma State earlier in January. Auburn has since promoted assistant head coach and linebackers coach Jeff Schmedding to defensive coordinator, while the offensive coordinator job remains open.

Earlier this week, Harsin told ESPN that he was not informed by anyone in the administration that his job was in jeopardy.

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“No, nothing was said to me about any of this ... all these rumors are out there and my phone is blowing up. All I can tell you is that nothing has changed with me. We’re working toward getting this program where we all want it to be, and that’s where my focus is going to remain until I'm told otherwise,” Harsin said.

But it’s not just the coaching changes that put Harsin under scrutiny by the decision makers at Auburn. The mass exodus of players transferring was also a factor in evaluating his job status.

Former Tigers defensive tackle Lee Hunter, who transferred to UCF in January to play for former Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, said on Instagram that Harsin treated his players “like dogs.”

“Any attack on my character is bullsh---,” Harsin told ESPN.

“This is where I want to be,” the coach said. “This is what I want to do. That's why I came here. I didn’t come here to fail.”

Firing Harsin, who has a buyout of $18.3 million, would have been an expensive decision for Auburn, which is still paying the buyout of former coach Gus Malzahn.

Instead, Harsin will receive a second year to get the program on track. The Tigers open their 2022 season with a home game against Mercer on Sept. 3.

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