When the program announced that Bryan Harsin was the next head football coach, many Auburn fans wondered who Harsin was.
On Christmas Eve, he got the opportunity to tell the Auburn Family what he's all about in his introductory press conference.
While many fans might not have known who Harsin was before his introductory press conference, the first thing the coach wants people to know about him is that he is all about family.
Harsin and his wife Kes have been married for 20 years and have three children together. A decision to go from Boise State to Auburn is a big one but one that the couple made together.
"We've had some amazing opportunities in our lives with some amazing people," Harsin said. "And every single one of those, we've been together, and Kes and I've been married 20 years. This decision was simple."
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The decision wasn't made by just Harsin and his wife, as his two daughters Devyn and Dayn and son Davis all agreed that Auburn was the place for them.
"And the reason why we're here is because they all gave the thumbs up like you did Quentin [Riggins] and they said, 'We're going to Auburn, dad. This is what we want to be a part of. And this is the opportunity that we as a family want to be a part of.' So I just want them to know how much I appreciate them," Harsin said.
Harsin's son and wife traveled to Auburn for the press conference with him, and Harsin said his daughters were watching the press conference online.
A 4th-and-1 mentality
In seven seasons at Boise State, Harsin won three Mountain West Conference championships and compiled an overall record of 69-19.
Now at Auburn, Harsin will be looking to bring the Tigers to SEC Championship status and beyond, planning to do so with his fourth-and-one mentality.
"But I'm looking forward to building this program with Allen, and, and bringing this identity of what he mentioned, but it is excellence," Harsin said. "And it ties into our creed. And it is about the belief that we talked about here so much, which resonates with me, and, and to also do that in a consistent way where we can win championships. And we can have a fourth-and-one mentality every single day because there are no days off when you're trying to operate like that."
Like life, football is a developmental game to Harsin, and he wants that message sent early to everyone associated with the football program.
"And what I told our team the other day, and I believe that football is a developmental game, and so is life," Harsin said. "So every single day, that is the mindset as we walk in here, and for our coaches, every player, every member of this football program, people that are going to be surrounding what we do, football is a developmental game, so is life. And I will do the best I can early on to make sure that that idea is cemented with everybody, as they become a part of this program and get to know me better, but we will develop our players. And we will certainly do that every single day with that fourth-and-one mindset."
The Bo Jackson connection
While Harsin is originally from Idaho, he has had a connection with Auburn before.
In 2019, former Auburn Heisman winner Bo Jackson happened to be in Boise, Idaho, and visited with the Broncos team.
"And we had a, we had a 15-20 minute conversation, and we walked down the hallway at 75 yards from my office there down to the football facility," Harsin said. "And we walked in there, and we had this great video that we have put together of Bo Jackson that has got him running out of the tunnels garden, climbing up the wall and making the catch the players are watching," Harsin said. "And then bang, there he is in front of our team. And if some of those guys didn't know, I shouldn't have recruited them, but they knew exactly who Bo Jackson was, and he had their attention."
Harsin said while he thought Jackson met with the team for 20 minutes, he was there telling stories and talking to the team for over an hour.
Looking back on it, Harsin said he realizes the message Jackson was telling his team was a lot of what he's seen and heard since arriving at Auburn.
"And it was one of the most incredible experiences that our players have had with a guest speaker coming in there and somebody of his magnitude. But he talked about so many of the same things I'm talking about right now. He shared the message, really that I know now from Auburn University," Harsin said. "And he also talked to our guys about being the ultimate competitor. If you don't believe that you are going to outwork everybody, everybody, that you go against, then you shouldn't be in this room."
Jackson delivered a message with his words and a message on the team's whiteboard.
"And then when he finished up, he went and wrote on the board, and it's still up there today, and it says 'Do not erase,' now this is in our team room, where we need the board space, we're trying to do meetings and things, but there's an area on there that is completely off-limits. And it says, 'Do not erase, and he wrote up there: Do something better today than you did yesterday.' Simple, simple. I walked by it every day. Our players walk by it every day."
Bringing in talent from all across the country
Auburn has always typically stuck to recruiting players from the Southeast and bringing in talent from its backyard.
Harsin doesn't plan to change that, but rather, add onto it by going all around the country to bring in talent.
"Alright, so the 2021 class, we've had guys that are signed, we have guys that we still need to sign, we have a focus on recruiting, we have to make sure that we are going out there and getting the best of the best. And so where do we do that? Well all over the country," Harsin said. "I'm coming from a long ways away. I can tell you that when I flew in today, that's a long flight. Alright, but I'm going to tell you now those guys from the west coast, myself included, they're going to come here, they're gonna want to be a part of this."
While Harsin plans to go all over the country, staying in Auburn's backyard is still a crucial part of the recruiting equation.
"So we'll be right here in our backyard number one, and making sure that the best players that are right here surrounding us that they want to be at Auburn University," Harsin said. "And then the other players in the country that want to come play and play for championships and be a part of the best program in the country, we're gonna go after them as well."
After the early national signing period, Auburn has 12 players signed to its 2021 recruiting class.
Harsin and his staff will have a short turnaround, but they will have the opportunity to fill up the recruiting class's remaining spots in the coming weeks.
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