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Greene’s Rocky Tenure As AD Ends, but Auburn’s Dysfunction Continues


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Allen Greene leaving doesn’t bode well for Bryan Harsin

Published: Aug. 26, 2022, 4:23 p.m.
5-7 minutes

Athletics director Allen Greene stepping down clears the way for the next major move by Auburn’s powerbrokers.

And that would be firing the football coach who Greene hired. Bryan Harsin will begin the season coaching on borrowed time. The proverbial hot seat has been cooking for some time.

If Auburn loses to Penn State and LSU, then Auburn could be in the market for a new football coach before anyone else. Auburn might need that long to convince someone half decent to take the job.

Barn gonna Barn, as they say in the SEC.

RELATED: Allen Greene stepping down as Auburn AD

RELATED: Seven potential candidates for Auburn’s next AD

RELATED: Former AD calls Green’s ouster ‘utterly shameful’

GOODMAN: Did Bryan Harsin already miss on Auburn’s QB?

It’s always messy at Auburn, in other words, and so it was on Friday when word of Greene’s departure came with football season a week away. Auburn begins the season next Saturday, Sept. 3, with a home game against Mercer at 6 p.m. Greene will be history by then. His last official day of work at Auburn is Wednesday.

I will miss Greene, who I thought was a good athletics director and great ambassador for Auburn University. Auburn has deep problems he couldn’t fix, though, and ultimately that’s why he’s leaving after just one contract. Greene exiting now allows Auburn to potentially hire a permanent AD before the end of football season. That timeline wouldn’t improve Harsin’s chances of surviving another season.

None of this presents a strong image of Auburn, of course, but when has Auburn ever cared about perception? There will be plenty of names thrown around to be the next AD, but if Auburn was smart they’d hire a sports agent to run the department in this age of NIL.

Oh, and guess who happens to be a well-connected sports agent with deep ties to The Plains? Pat Dye Jr. might not want that headache, but he’d at least take the phone call.

Bruce Pearl would be a good AD for Auburn, too, and the state isn’t too far removed from Gene Bartow pulling double duty for UAB. Oh, and there’s this. Bartow’s son took over the Blazers after his dad stepped away from basketball. Just saying.

Auburn’s all about family, right?

They wouldn’t give Greene another contract despite his department’s success outside of football, and so his exit from Auburn isn’t a huge surprise. I am shocked, though, at the timing, and that Greene would go out before the eve of football season. It feels like a general walking out of camp the night before battle. In the SEC, one of the most important responsibilities of an athletics director is to help the football coach recruit players.

This sets Auburn football back just as Harsin appeared to be gaining some momentum.

Greene will be successful wherever he goes and no matter what he does. He helped raise huge sums of money for football and basketball, and that was his primary job. When you’re the athletics director in the SEC, however, there’s one task that’s more important than any other. It’s hiring a football coach.

Blowing it means you lose your job. Greene blew it. Harsin has been gasping for air in the SEC ever since he was hired, and Greene is the canary in the coal mine.

Greene will soon be unemployed, and that’s all you need to know about what Auburn thinks of Harsin.

After Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was fired in 2020, an influential set of Auburn boosters wanted the next coach of Auburn football to be Malzahn’s defensive coordinator, Kevin Steele. Greene wanted to hire his own man, and he settled on an outsider from Idaho. It has not gone well.

Auburn football dropped its final five games of the 2021 season, and then lost quarterback Bo Nix to Oregon and defensive coordinator Derek Mason to Oklahoma State. It got ugly after that.

Harsin fought off an attempt by Auburn’s administration to have him fired in February, and he then spiked the football on his own university at SEC Media Days.

“There was an inquiry,” Harsin said. “It was uncomfortable. It was unfounded. It presented an opportunity for people to personally attack me, my family, and also our program. And it didn’t work.”

It wasn’t Greene leading that witch hunt. Auburn’s president and members of the board went over the AD’s head and launched an internal investigation in the football program. An outrageous precedent was set, Auburn boosters actively trying to find dirt on its own football program.

Harsin can coach his way to a winning season with Auburn, but it’s going to be tough against the hardest schedule in the country. He’s going to need all the help he can get, but where’s it coming from now that Greene is out?

Like usual, it will be a fascinating football season at Auburn for all the weirdest reasons. Harsin was living with Greene on a deserted speck of dirt in the middle of Lake Martin before Friday, but now Renegade Island is down to its final pirate.

The football coach went through the backdoor at SEC headquarters during Auburn’s internal investigation, but now the trapdoor awaits.

Joseph Goodman is a columnist for the Alabama Media Group, and author of “We Want Bama: A season of hope and the making of Nick Saban’s ‘ultimate team’”. You can find him on Twitter @JoeGoodmanJr.

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si.com
 

Allen Greene’s Rocky Tenure As AD Ends, but Auburn’s Dysfunction Continues

Richard Johnson
6-7 minutes

Greene’s resignation comes at a time when more leadership voids could soon arise. So where do the Tigers go from here?

The inevitable became imminent Friday, when Auburn’s Allen Greene resigned from his post—a move unheard of for an athletic director secure in his role, but Greene was never truly secure in that role.

Close to the end of a contract that was set to expire in January 2023, Greene’s tenure has been rocky and the ground under him changed rapidly. A month before he was hired in January 2018, then-football coach Gus Malzahn received a seven-year extension at the end of the 2017 football season from school president Steven Leath (who secured his job in May 2017). Some presidents aren’t very hands-on with athletics, but Leath was. Malzahn received that extension after securing a spot in the SEC championship game in a rematch against Georgia with a College Football Playoff berth on the line. Auburn lost, but Malzahn had bought equity back and signed a new deal with a massive buyout.

The boosters who wanted him out couldn’t really get rid of him after such a great season even if they wanted to, and the new deal also helped fend off an open job at Arkansas (Malzahn’s home state, where he was a high school coaching legend and assistant for one year with the Hogs). None of the above is Greene’s fault, it was a vacuum of athletic department leadership that nature abhors, so Leath stepped into it.

With a coach thought to be sewn up for the foreseeable future, Greene mostly took charge of the rest of the athletic department. Within 18 months, he did not exactly make friends in the department due in large part to cutting budgets across the board 10%, including to a baseball team that had just made the College World Series and a men’s basketball team that had just made the Final Four, increasing tensions with its head coach, Bruce Pearl. By mid-2019, Leath was out, replaced by former president Jay Gouge, and Malzahn made it through the 2019 and ’20 seasons before being fired in December 2020.

Auburn athletic director Allen Greene meets fans at a basketball game.

Greene took charge of an Auburn athletic department that underwent substantial change during his tenure.

Jake Crandall/USA TODAY NETWORK

Influential boosters orchestrated a palace coup and ran Malzahn out of his job with a hefty buyout that came with it. They tried to put their own guy into the job but backed down after—in part—a social media campaign spooked them. In the Auburn tradition of one leadership void after another, Greene stepped in and ran a conventional search that landed with an unconventional name in then-Boise State coach Bryan Harsin. Harsin’s hire is not why Greene no longer has his job, but it certainly didn’t help. And there have been rumors about Greene’s involvement in multiple other administrative searches across the sport as it became increasingly apparent he wouldn’t get a contract extension. Greene also saw some of his power in the athletic department wane after the university’s COO, Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, was brought in to help oversee athletics.

In February 2022, boosters were back again trying to drum up anything that would stick to fire Harsin. He stood firm on the money owed to him, nobody found anything concrete after an internal investigation and Harsin remains head coach. Many sources expected Harsin and Greene to be let go together after the season if the Tigers had a rough year on the field, but the end came now and Greene departs to, as the release put it, “explore other professional interests.”

If you’ve followed along thus far you’ll know that Auburn functions via dysfunction almost exclusively. This current spate of tumult comes from the artist that gave us such hits as JetGate, Cam Newton’s recruitment and a probation scandal that cost the program a shot at a title in the early 1990s—and that just scratches the surface.

Auburn has another new president, Christopher Roberts, and again the question begs: What type of program does it want to be, and who is really in control? Auburn is no stranger to scandal or dysfunction but there is one common denominator over the last 40 years you have to give to them: winning.

There will be usual suspects if Auburn opts to go in-house: Tim Jackson, head of Auburn’s booster organization or compliance director Rich McGlynn. Former NFL CIO and Auburn alum Michelle Mckenna is also a name to know as the search gets going. Auburn could also opt to go the search firm route and pull in another outsider, but it’s unclear how much has really changed on the inside.

There’s a best case scenario here where Auburn seriously contends for the SEC West on the back of a good defense and it makes firing Harsin politically untenable, just like Malzahn in 2017. The football program moves on amicably and tensions are cooled. A new AD could enter that situation in conjunction with a flourishing men’s basketball program and there’s some modicum of stability.

But if Auburn does poorly on the field and the folks who don’t like Harsin push to get their way, there could be a brand new AD either trying to hire a new coach in the midst of massive headwinds they may not fully understand or an AD coming into a job with a new head coach they had no say in hiring, plus all the issues that can come if that head coach isn’t the right guy.

This is Auburn. Which one do you think is more likely?

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Don’t really think it matters.  If Auburn doesn’t have a great season Harsin is toast regardless.  

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3 minutes ago, Win4AU said:

Don’t really think it matters.  If Auburn doesn’t have a great season Harsin is toast regardless.  

it is public perception and it will not be kind to Auburn. politics and meddling and all the other bull will give us another year of negative comments for the most part.

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Won’t even be a story outside of Auburn fans this time next week

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49 minutes ago, Win4AU said:

Don’t really think it matters.

It hasn't mattered since February 4th, 2022.

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Well apparently the general was the one who hired CBH, not AG. So there is that . Sounds like he does have support 

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Yeah, doesn’t matter who the AD is.   Things won’t change at AU until the PTB are held in check, which won’t happen because they write the checks.  
Same for Harsin, if we win and recruiting picks up significantly he will pull off a major personal comeback story and stay here!(at least for one more year)   If not, he’s done before the year is out.  

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If you see the name “Goodman” and it’s an article about Auburn football, don’t bother reading it.  The guy is a tool bag.  

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Sounded like an Alabama fan from Wetumpka wrote this lol.

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2 hours ago, Mikey said:

Another hit piece from Goodman. He doesn't like Auburn and I don't like him.

You know he's a clown when Finebaum puts him on blast. 

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2 hours ago, Mikey said:

Another hit piece from Goodman. He doesn't like Auburn and I don't like him.

 

1 hour ago, aubaseball said:

The guy is a tool bag.

 

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Hasn't it been stated by those in the know on here that "boosters wanting Kevin Steele" wasn't actually a thing?

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8 minutes ago, AUwent said:

Hasn't it been stated by those in the know on here that "boosters wanting Kevin Steele" wasn't actually a thing?

I remember reading that on here too. Wonder who is right? Marshall also wrote an article that boosters wanted Steele

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love the people complaining that we lack alignment, yet melting down when we make a move towards it.

also love how people act like we have completely different sets of boosters for basketball/baseball and football. 

Edited by AUwent
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It doesn't matter, all that matters is winning at this point. So imo,  7 wins and he's gone, 8 wins it's 50/50, 9 wins and he probably (90%) stays, 10 wins and he definitely (100%) stays.  

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3 minutes ago, IronMan70 said:

It doesn't matter, all that matters is winning at this point. So imo,  7 wins and he's gone, 8 wins it's 50/50, 9 wins and he probably stays, 10 wins and he definitely stays.  

I honestly believe 8 is the bare minimum. That'll have to include absolutely 0 blowout losses.

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8 wins (regular season) and he should absolutely stay.

Edited by AUwent
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1 hour ago, JOSEPHIAMLEGEND75@GMAIL.CO said:

I honestly believe 8 is the bare minimum. That'll have to include absolutely 0 blowout losses.

Yeah, he has to get 8 to be in the game.

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9 hours ago, aubiefifty said:

Allen Greene leaving doesn’t bode well for Bryan Harsin

Published: Aug. 26, 2022, 4:23 p.m.
5-7 minutes

Athletics director Allen Greene stepping down clears the way for the next major move by Auburn’s powerbrokers.

And that would be firing the football coach who Greene hired. Bryan Harsin will begin the season coaching on borrowed time. The proverbial hot seat has been cooking for some time.

If Auburn loses to Penn State and LSU, then Auburn could be in the market for a new football coach before anyone else. Auburn might need that long to convince someone half decent to take the job.

Barn gonna Barn, as they say in the SEC.

RELATED: Allen Greene stepping down as Auburn AD

RELATED: Seven potential candidates for Auburn’s next AD

RELATED: Former AD calls Green’s ouster ‘utterly shameful’

GOODMAN: Did Bryan Harsin already miss on Auburn’s QB?

It’s always messy at Auburn, in other words, and so it was on Friday when word of Greene’s departure came with football season a week away. Auburn begins the season next Saturday, Sept. 3, with a home game against Mercer at 6 p.m. Greene will be history by then. His last official day of work at Auburn is Wednesday.

I will miss Greene, who I thought was a good athletics director and great ambassador for Auburn University. Auburn has deep problems he couldn’t fix, though, and ultimately that’s why he’s leaving after just one contract. Greene exiting now allows Auburn to potentially hire a permanent AD before the end of football season. That timeline wouldn’t improve Harsin’s chances of surviving another season.

None of this presents a strong image of Auburn, of course, but when has Auburn ever cared about perception? There will be plenty of names thrown around to be the next AD, but if Auburn was smart they’d hire a sports agent to run the department in this age of NIL.

Oh, and guess who happens to be a well-connected sports agent with deep ties to The Plains? Pat Dye Jr. might not want that headache, but he’d at least take the phone call.

Bruce Pearl would be a good AD for Auburn, too, and the state isn’t too far removed from Gene Bartow pulling double duty for UAB. Oh, and there’s this. Bartow’s son took over the Blazers after his dad stepped away from basketball. Just saying.

Auburn’s all about family, right?

They wouldn’t give Greene another contract despite his department’s success outside of football, and so his exit from Auburn isn’t a huge surprise. I am shocked, though, at the timing, and that Greene would go out before the eve of football season. It feels like a general walking out of camp the night before battle. In the SEC, one of the most important responsibilities of an athletics director is to help the football coach recruit players.

This sets Auburn football back just as Harsin appeared to be gaining some momentum.

Greene will be successful wherever he goes and no matter what he does. He helped raise huge sums of money for football and basketball, and that was his primary job. When you’re the athletics director in the SEC, however, there’s one task that’s more important than any other. It’s hiring a football coach.

Blowing it means you lose your job. Greene blew it. Harsin has been gasping for air in the SEC ever since he was hired, and Greene is the canary in the coal mine.

Greene will soon be unemployed, and that’s all you need to know about what Auburn thinks of Harsin.

After Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was fired in 2020, an influential set of Auburn boosters wanted the next coach of Auburn football to be Malzahn’s defensive coordinator, Kevin Steele. Greene wanted to hire his own man, and he settled on an outsider from Idaho. It has not gone well.

Auburn football dropped its final five games of the 2021 season, and then lost quarterback Bo Nix to Oregon and defensive coordinator Derek Mason to Oklahoma State. It got ugly after that.

Harsin fought off an attempt by Auburn’s administration to have him fired in February, and he then spiked the football on his own university at SEC Media Days.

“There was an inquiry,” Harsin said. “It was uncomfortable. It was unfounded. It presented an opportunity for people to personally attack me, my family, and also our program. And it didn’t work.”

It wasn’t Greene leading that witch hunt. Auburn’s president and members of the board went over the AD’s head and launched an internal investigation in the football program. An outrageous precedent was set, Auburn boosters actively trying to find dirt on its own football program.

Harsin can coach his way to a winning season with Auburn, but it’s going to be tough against the hardest schedule in the country. He’s going to need all the help he can get, but where’s it coming from now that Greene is out?

Like usual, it will be a fascinating football season at Auburn for all the weirdest reasons. Harsin was living with Greene on a deserted speck of dirt in the middle of Lake Martin before Friday, but now Renegade Island is down to its final pirate.

The football coach went through the backdoor at SEC headquarters during Auburn’s internal investigation, but now the trapdoor awaits.

Joseph Goodman is a columnist for the Alabama Media Group, and author of “We Want Bama: A season of hope and the making of Nick Saban’s ‘ultimate team’”. You can find him on Twitter @JoeGoodmanJr.

Losing games will be even worse.

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