The announcement of Auburn University's new head football coach Tuesday night came out of left field.
Make that a blue field.
Boise State's Bryan Harsin, who has compiled a 69-19 record with the Broncos the past seven seasons on their famed blue turf, agreed to become the 28th football coach in Auburn's 127-year history that contains eight Southeastern Conference titles and consensus national championships in 1957 and 2010. Harsin is replacing Gus Malzahn, who went 68-35 the last eight years with the Tigers in a stretch that was highlighted by the 2013 SEC crown and a journey to the BCS title game that same year but averaged 4.7 losses in the seven seasons that followed.
"I'm incredibly excited and humbled for the opportunity to be at a place like Auburn University," Harsin said through a statement. "I knew it would take a special opportunity to get me out of Boise, and Auburn is exactly that - a chance to compete at the highest level for one of the greatest programs in college football. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the coaches and players in the Southeastern Conference, but I am ready to help build a foundation at Auburn where we can consistently compete for championships."
Harsin won three Mountain West Conference titles in his seven seasons and is actually replacing Malzahn for a second time. Two years after Malzahn served as offensive coordinator on Auburn's 2010 national champions, he became the Arkansas State coach for one season before returning to the Plains for his thrilling debut run in 2013 that included the "Kick Six" victory over Alabama.
Arkansas State turned to Harsin, then the co-offensive coordinator at Texas, to replace Malzahn, but Harsin would only last a year in Jonesboro as well before leaving for Boise State, his alma mater.
"We are thrilled to welcome Coach Harsin to the Auburn family," Auburn athletic director Allen Greene said in a release. "He's a proven winner whose record speaks for itself. Coach Harsin impressed me with his detailed plan to lead Auburn to consistently compete for championships in the Southeastern Conference."
Harsin was born and raised in Boise and quarterbacked the Broncos during the late 1990s. His two seasons with the Longhorns and one at ASU mark the only years he has spent in the SEC footprint.
Boise State has won three Fiesta Bowls in its history, two with Harsin as offensive coordinator under Chris Petersen and the third with Harsin as head coach in 2014.
Contact David Paschall at [email protected] or 423-757-6524.