Fired Auburn coach Bryan Harsin ‘incredibly disappointed’

Jake Crandall/USA TODAY NETWORK
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AUBURN, Ala. — Former Auburn coach Bryan Harsin released a statement a day after getting fired amid his second season expressing disappointment while praising the team for staying together “in the face of considerable challenges and outside noise.”

Auburn President Chris Roberts fired Harsin after a tenure in which he went 9-12, struggled against Power Five competition – going 4-11 – and faced a university probe into his program after his debut season.

“I am incredibly disappointed that I won’t get to lead the Auburn football program and these players into the future,” Harsin said in his statement. “I poured my heart and soul into this program and team.

“We stood together in the face of considerable challenges and outside noise. Through my entire time at Auburn we did things the right way, which is not always the easy way.”

Running backs coach Carnell Williams will serve as interim coach for the Tigers, who visit Mississippi State. New athletic director John Cohen, whose hiring away from Mississippi State was announced hours after Harsin’s firing, will be searching for a replacement coach.

Harsin will receive a buyout of about $15.5 million from his 6-year, $31.5 million deal.

Harsin said Auburn’s resources and fan base give the Tigers “the potential to be a championship program once again.”

“Like any coach with the benefit of hindsight, there are things that could have been done differently,” Harsin said. “I don’t pretend to be perfect but I am certain I will be better moving forward because of this experience.”

Former athletic director Allen Greene hired Harsin away from Boise State despite his lack of Southeastern Conference experience.

Five players have recently announced intentions to enter the transfer portal, though reserve wide receiver Ze'vian Capers was the first after Harsin’s firing. Auburn has lost its last four games.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”