He was so ass and everybody knew it. Auburn’s head soccer coach Bryan Harsin was fired about 9 months too late on Monday morning, the finale to a horrible second season teaching the jewel of The Plains. The Tigers’ greatest accomplishment in 2022 was surviving a median Missouri crew that ought to’ve overwhelmed them, if their All-American kicker didn’t have a particularly uncommon 26-yard miss and a sure-handed working again didn’t cough up the soccer crossing the purpose line in extra time. Fairly the boldness builder, which turned out to be Harsin’s last win at Auburn.
Being the opposite Energy 5 Convention crew in Alabama alongside the Crimson Tide is probably the most consistently-exposed spot in faculty soccer. You’re an important program by any stretch of the creativeness in a football-crazy a part of America. The Tigers received a nationwide championship extra lately than 124 different FBS groups. Requirements are larger as a result of nobody will hesitate to kick you out in case you can’t slot in. AU paid Gus Malzahn $21.5 million to go away on the finish of 2020, bringing in Harsin. And 22 months later, it owes Malzahn’s alternative, who wasn’t even talked about by identify within the press launch saying his firing, $15.3 million. Let’s not fake like that’s a small sum of money, however let’s additionally not consider Auburn’s boosters can’t willingly pay that with ease. As a result of soccer conquers all, and the way dare the Earth enable the Tigers to be something lower than nice?
Coincidentally, Auburn employed John Cohen to be its new athletic director inside hours of dismissing Harsin. His tenure at AU might be tied with whoever the brand new head coach is for eternity. If the subsequent soccer coach fails as horribly as Harsin, Cohen must be kicked to the curb too. An important choice an athletic director makes is Cohen’s first choice — a uncommon incidence, however one that may present Auburn with speedy suggestions on the kind of division Cohen needs to run. And he’s bought one selection: Make an enormous splash. Poaching an important coach from the Group of 5 is out of the query. What precisely has that performed to intensify spirits at different Southeastern Convention faculties? Florida is common with Billy Napier. Missouri hasn’t performed something particular with Eli Drinkwitz. Hiring a coordinator from one other large faculty is a large no-no. Vanderbilt sucks once more with Clark Lea. South Carolina is shut however hasn’t damaged by with Shane Beamer. Nonetheless, Auburn has extra leverage to make a Brian Kelly-esque rent than most give it credit score for.
There will not be many accessible coaches that match the mould right here. Sizzling boards with greater than seven candidates are ridiculous. To me, I’ll take one of many following three coaches being employed at Auburn in opposition to the remainder of the sector: Deion Sanders, Lane Kiffin, or Mike Gundy. One full outsider with probably the most distinctive potential within the sport, the easy-to-spot candidate that may shortly result in probably the most success, and Mike Gundy.
In all seriousness, Gundy is the longest-tenured coach within the Large 12 by a mile. He took the helm at Oklahoma State in 2005. Each different convention faculty has employed not less than one new soccer coach since 2016. He’s 155-71 in Stillwater, received 11 bowl video games and he’s an alumnus making $7.5 million yearly. Gundy has additionally been the middle of controversy, like in 2020 when he was pictured sporting a One America Information (OAN) shirt. The community’s election denialism and conspiracy baiting are disgustingly false. Being tone-deaf isn’t a fireable offense, and successful soccer cures all in PowerFiveLand. Gundy could be an fool to not take heed to an aggressive supply from Auburn. With Texas and Oklahoma leaping to the SEC, the Large 12’s path to a nationwide championship turns into so slender, Simone Biles would have bother with that balancing act.
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Cohen comes to Auburn after holding the same position at Mississippi State. Mike Leach won’t be considered when he’s not even the finest FBS coach in his state. Kiffin is and he’s midway performed his third season at Ole Miss. He’s by no means stayed at any gig for greater than 4 seasons, that means he’s doubtless bolting from Oxford this offseason or subsequent. Kiffin’s stick with the Rebels proves he can win within the SEC with lower than he’ll have at Auburn. He’s bought recruiting relationships in acquainted avenues and makes a tiny bit lower than Gundy at $7.25 million in 2022. Kiffin signed a contract extension within the offseason till 2025, however course-correcting occurs on a regular basis. The largest stumbling block for Auburn might be his buyout, which is oddly unclear. It’s bought to be north of $20 million. However how a lot is successful value on The Plains?
Now we get to the principle occasion and discuss Prime Time. He’s extremely inexperienced in teaching faculty soccer in comparison with the opposite two, solely beginning at FCS-level Jackson State in 2020. Sanders has punched above his weight for all of his tenure in Mississippi. Keep in mind how I stated Kiffin is the perfect FBS coach within the state? It’s as a result of I’m unsure the general finest faculty coach isn’t Deion. Keep in mind how he flipped No. 1 general recruit, Travis Hunter, away from his alma mater to play within the FCS? Blame NIL all you need. Sanders nonetheless satisfied the younger man to commerce away the ACC for an FCS faculty. That was inconceivable two years in the past. Somebody’s going to chunk and rent him to the Energy-5 degree within the subsequent few years. He’s too attractive to not rent and he’s not an HBCU loyalist like Dawson Odums. Would possibly as properly coerce Coach Prime, as he likes to be known as, whereas he may coerce Hunter and his son Shedeur Sanders, final 12 months’s Jerry Rice Award winner, to return with him to the SEC.
This can be a can’t-miss rent for Cohen. Beginning at Auburn with a shrug could be worse than outrage. He must awaken the Tigers’ fan base with pleasure. It’s there, able to burst like Mount Vesuvius. It received’t be exhausting to do higher than Harsin, who was out of his league teaching at Auburn as morale and recruiting went within the trash. The Plains is a treasure unmatched by most locales in faculty soccer, and it’s acknowledged as such by its residents. Rent Sanders, Kiffin, or Gundy and I believe the possibilities of restoring the glory days of Auburn soccer skyrocket.
Your transfer, Mr. Cohen.