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A spirit that is not afraid

Harsin will return for second season, University announces

December 28, 2021; Birmingham, Alabama; Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin exits the field after the conclusion of the Birmingham Bowl.
December 28, 2021; Birmingham, Alabama; Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin exits the field after the conclusion of the Birmingham Bowl.

Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin will be returning next season, the University announced Friday.

The announcement comes after a week when speculation surrounded the football program — as rumors and reports spread throughout social media that Harsin's future at Auburn was in doubt.

Those rumors and reports have been put to rest.

"I am pleased to report that the evaluation of concerns raised regarding our football program is complete," said Auburn University President Jay Gogue. "I am equally pleased to confirm that Bryan Harsin remains our head football coach."

Over the last week, Gogue and his administration conducted a review of the football program after concerns within the program were brought to his attention. The review consisted of interviews and meetings with current and former coaches, numerous players and University administrators.

However, while administration conducted the review, social media "fueled speculation," according to Gogue.

"Personal and intentional attacks have been publicly levied, almost all of them anonymous, without regard for their resulting, real-world ramifications," Gogue said. "Auburn never has — and I hope never will — legitimize reckless rumors or innuendo with public comment. While Coach Harsin understands some level of public criticism comes with the job, what he and his family have endured this past week was beyond the pale."

Harsin called it "one of the hardest weeks" of his career.

"This has been one of the hardest weeks of my career and it had nothing to do with my coaching ability," Harsin said. "The personal attacks on me and my family went too far and were without justification."

While personal attacks on Harsin through social media circulated over the previous week, he acknowledged that the support for him did not go unnoticed.

"We also saw the best of the best in others and we will always be grateful for the support of so many through a very difficult time – our players, staff, the Auburn family, and many others," Harsin said."

Nonetheless, the Tigers will take the field in 2022 under Harsin.

"I’m proud to be your head coach and appreciate the opportunity to lead the incredible group of young men in our locker room," Harsin said.

Caleb Jones | Sports Editor

Originally from Helena, Ala., Caleb Jones is a senior studying journalism at Auburn University. He has been on staff with The Plainsman since 2019.

You can follow him here on Twitter: @calebjsports

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