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Boise State's Harsin Bolts For SEC Country

AP Images
In this Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 file photo, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin watches his players warm up for the Las Vegas Bowl NCAA college football game against Washington at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin is leaving his alma mater to become head coach at the University of Auburn in Alabama.

Sports Illustrated writer Pete Thamel first reported the hire on Twitter. Auburn confirmed it with an announcement Tuesday evening.

"I'm incredibly excited and humbled for the opportunity to be at a place like Auburn University," Harsin said in the statement. "I knew it would take a special opportunity to get me out of Boise and Auburn is exactly that, the chance to compete at the highest level for one of the greatest programs in college football."

Harsin went 69-19 in seven seasons as Boise State head coach, taking over for Chris Petersen following the 2013 football season. Harsin's Broncos won three Mountain West Conference titles in that time, making five championship game appearances.

Prior to being head coach, Harsin was a quarterback, assistant coach and offensive coordinator at Boise State. He also had stints at the University of Texas and Arkansas State before returning to the blue turf.

At Auburn, Harsin replaces Gus Malzahn, fired eight days earlier after finishing the current season with a 6-4 record. Expectations are through the roof in arguably the country's toughest college football conference.

Early in his eight-year tenure, Malzahn had led the Tigers to two Southeast Conference Championship Games, one SEC Championship and a national championship game appearance. He was making $7 million annually, according to published reports, and never led the Tigers to a losing season.

Prior to taking the head job at Boise State, Harsin spent one year as head coach at Arkansas State, replacing Malzahn who had just departed for Auburn.

Boise State President Marlene Tromp released a statement Tuesday, thanking Harsin for his tenure.

“Bryan Harsin has contributed to Boise State University as a student-athlete, as an assistant coach and in his last seven seasons as our head coach. We are proud of what he has been able to accomplish on The Blue, and we wish him the very best of luck at Auburn," Tromp said.

Boise State is left in the hiring process for both athletic director and head football coach, the two most visible and powerful positions within any major college athletic program. The school is also dealing with a severe budget shortfall due to pandemic-related losses, and emails from Harsin to his administration asking the school to get the team out of the Mountain West show a strained relationship with the conference.

On Twitter, Boise State players reacted with congratulations and surprise. Senior cornerback Jalen Walker tweeted, "Couldn't even tell us."

Follow Troy Oppie on Twitter @GoodBadOppie for more local news.

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