After a tumultuous season and a half on the plains, Bryan Harsin has been let go after amassing a record of 9-12. The Tigers will owe Harsin $15 million, with half due in 30 days.
Auburn released a statement of the decision, "Auburn University has decided to make a change in the leadership of the Auburn University football program," the school said in a statement. "President Christopher Roberts made the decision after a thorough review and evaluation of all aspects of the football program. Auburn will begin an immediate search for a coach that will return the Auburn program to a place where it is consistently competing at the highest levels and representing the winning tradition that is Auburn football."
Here are the candidates Auburn should and will be looking at:
Head Coach, Coastal Carolina
With former Nebraska assistant and current Coastal Carolina AD Joe Moglia not surprised Chadwell is high on the list for the Cornhuskers, he should be a target for Auburn. In the career progression, the next step for Chadwell is a Power 5 job, having guided the Chanticleers to a Top 15 ranking in 2020 and back to back 11 win seasons.
Chadwell knows the recruiting area and has a natural pipeline for talent, something Nebraska doesn't have anymore, giving Auburn the upper hand between the two programs.
Head Coach, Liberty
Auburn seems to be a place where a disgraced head coach can redeem himself. Just look at Bruce Pearl.
No one denies Hugh Freeze's coaching ability. The offensive mastermind has rejuvenated the Liberty program with three bowl wins and a Top 20 finish in 2020. All Freeze needs is someone to take another chance on him and a tight leash. With Freeze recently signing an eight year extension worth nearly $5 million per season, it might be costly to poach Freeze from Liberty. But his ability to get the most out of his talent might be worth the cost.
Former Head Coach, Carolina Panthers
Rhule did not translate to the NFL like most hoped he would. That isn't a knock on him but he is most likely moving back to the college game where he found great success at both Temple and Baylor.
The 47-year old has been linked to the Nebraska job, and if he is indeed available, Auburn is a realistic player to snag Rhule. His accomplishments of making Temple relevant and rebuilding Baylor alone make him attractable to a job that is a rebuild that has a very fertile recruiting territory.
Auburn might be a tough draw for Rhule since he will be picky on his next job, but he's someone the administration has to contact to at least gauge he's interest.
Coordinators To Keep An Eye On
At some point the former Houston Texans and Penn State head coach will earn his Saban Rehabilitation Certificate and get another shot somewhere, and it wouldn't be a foreign concept for an Alabama assistant to coach in The Plains see Pat Dye.
Fast rising coordinator is currently coordinating the Oregon offense and at 32 is a name to begin to know. He might not be the first name for this search, but if it begins to get into deeper options, his name will be come familiar.
With Dillingham realizing the five-star potential out of former Auburn quarterback Bo Nix, he will be a hot commodity really soon.
Lebby is now at Oklahoma and after spending time with Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss, he is familiar with the SEC and with time at UCF, he has recruited Florida. The major question is what are Lebby's ambitions?
So You're Telling Me There's a Chance...
Its all about health here, he had to go through a major back surgery. This is a very remote for happening but for how popular he is for what he did for UAB, you cannot rule out the minor possibility.
Maybe a more legitimate candidate, not sure where Patterson is in life. What he did for TCU speaks for itself and if Auburn was serious about getting a builder to set the table for someone younger, Patterson would be ideal. The problem is when you are in the same state as the Crimson Tide, rebuilds aren't acceptable or tolerable, maybe something Auburn fans need to embrace right now.
The obligatory and mandatory name to add whenever any SEC job opening happens. He is always on every SEC fans wishlist.
Even reported today by Brandon Marcello of 247 on CBS Sports HQ, "The No. 1 candidate will be Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss," Marcello told CBS Sports HQ on Monday.
"He will be the No. 1 guy, and I can tell you this because John Cohen, coming from Mississippi State, is very familiar with what Lane Kiffin has obviously done at Ole Miss. But here's the No. 1 thing. He has been a killer in the transfer portal. He calls himself the Transfer Portal King. Auburn needs immediate help in that football program. They can fix a lot of their issues with the transfer portal. It won't be an overnight rebuild. But a man like Lane Kiffin would come in there, fix things, get it back on the right track almost immediately. They need a coach like that to do it."
— Brandon Marcello, 247 Sports
Personally I don't feel Kiffin has the itch to leave Ole Miss where he has been very well embraced and has built significant momentum on The Grove. To me this will be a play to get more resources for his program, it isn't a sin to lose a Jeff Lebby to Oklahoma, but if it was a money play, this is where Kiffin will use Auburn for leverage at Ole Miss.