Bryan Harsin of Boise State has been named Auburn’s next soccer head coach, the school said Tuesday night.
He replaces Gus Malzahn, who was sacked earlier this month after eight seasons with the Tigers.
Harsin, 44, is 69-19 years old and has three Mountain West titles in seven seasons with Boise State, his alma mater. Harsin has been a top destination for Auburn from the start of his coaching quest, and more than 20 Power 5 schools have turned to him over the years, a source shared with ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.
“I knew it was going to be a special opportunity to get myself out of Boise and Auburn. This is exactly the chance to compete at the highest level for one of the greatest programs in college football,” Harsin said in a statement. “I have great respect for the Southeastern Conference coaches and players, but I am ready to help build a foundation in Auburn where we can consistently compete for championships. I want Auburn to be proud of our program both on and off the field does with consistent excellence. “
Louisiana head coach Billy Napier and Clemson defense coordinator Brent Venables were previously turned down from the Auburn job, ESPN sources said Chris Low.
Malzahn’s release came as a bit of a surprise after a 6-4 season, and it cost the school more than $ 21 million to buy out his contract.
Auburn was an up and down program that won the national championship under Gene Chizik in the 2010 season before falling rapidly.
The Tigers turned to Malzahn, the offensive coordinator of the team led by Cam Newton. Malzahn led Auburn to the SEC championship and national championship game in its first season (2013). But the Tigers have since lost at least four games in each of the seven seasons.
Meanwhile, Auburn’s main competitors have done well. Alabama has been a consistent contender, and Georgia has emerged as a national power too, making it even harder for Auburn to advance in the field and recruiting.
The Tigers sought their next bus from more than 2,100 miles away.
Harsin replaced Malzahn in Arkansas state in 2013 and won a share of the Sun Belt Conference title in his lonely season before returning to his alma mater.
A win in the 2014 Mountain West championship game marked Boise State’s first overall victory since joining the conference in 2011 and the first overall victory since 2009. Harsin, the only alumnus to head the Broncos as head coach in Boise State history, has won conference championships as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
Boise State won at least nine games in each of its first six seasons. The Broncos are 5-2 this year after losing to San Jose State No. 19 in the league title. Boise State chose not to play a bowl game.
“We are delighted to have Coach Harsin in the Auburn family. He is a proven winner whose record speaks for itself,” said Allen Greene, Auburn Sporting Director, in a statement. “Coach Harsin impressed me with his detailed plan to get Auburn to consistently compete for championships in the Southeastern Conference.”
Auburn will play Vrbo Citrus Bowl # 15 Northwestern on New Years Day. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is serving as the Tigers’ interim coach and was originally considered a permanent candidate.
Yahoo Sports first reported that Auburn narrowed its search to Harsin, and The Athletic first reported on the deal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.