Bryan Harsin never really had a chance at Auburn.
The Tigers just didn’t want him, according to Rece Davis.
The “College GameDay” host, who the College GameDay podcast, was critical of the Auburn treated Harsin, who was fired Monday as the head coach. Specifically, Davis pointed to a school investigation into his program in the offseason that was initiated by then-President Jay Gogue following heavy turnover on his roster and coaching staff.
“What happened to Bryan Harsin in the offseason was disgraceful. I mean, despicable,” he said on ESPN’s College GameDay podcast. “You don’t want him? Pay the man his money. You end up having to do it anyway. Just say, ‘You know what? We didn’t want this’ and send him on his way. Instead, they did something nefarious and unfair. If somehow, and it won’t, but if somehow, it’s proven that they had grounds for that and couldn’t prove it, then I’ll apologize, but right now I won’t. I thought it was disgraceful what they did to him.”
One former player had said Harsin treated the team “like dogs,” though others rose to Harsin’s defense. The investigation ended with Gogue decrying the “wild speculation” and misinformation in the “feeding frenzy” surrounding Harsin.
“He stood tall through it. Did the best he could. They lost a bunch of double-digit leads, too, so he’s not without blame here, but I don’t think it had risen on the field to be the level of a fireable offense. They just didn’t want him.”
Auburn fired Harsin on Monday after less than two seasons. Harsin went 9-12 overall and 3-5 this year. Auburn has lost four straight games while struggling against Power Five opponents, including a 41-27 loss to Arkansas on Saturday that proved the final straw.
Auburn will owe Harsin 70 percent of his remaining contract — more than $15 million — and half of that must be paid within 30 days.
Harsin was hired away from Boise State in December 2020 and Auburn gave him a six-year, $31.5 million deal. He never came close to replicating his past success or making the Tigers competitive in the SEC, and he failed to keep up with rivals Georgia and Alabama on the field or on the recruiting trail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.