AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - For the first time since the news broke two days prior, Auburn football’s 28th head coach Bryan Harsin had the opportunity to introduce himself to the Auburn family.
Harsin’s first words to his audience? “War Eagle.”
The former Boise State head coach visited his new home for the first time Thursday, accompanied by his wife Kes and son Davis.
Harsin’s ties to the Bronco program run deep. Born and raised in Boise, he attended BSU and played quarterback for the team from 1995 to 1999. Early in his college coaching career, Harsin worked first as a graduate assistant then as offensive coordinator for Boise State. In 2013, he returned as the program’s head coach.
Despite his deep roots at BSU, Harsin said the choice to come to Auburn was an easy one. It also helped that his wife was so supportive of the change.
“This decision was simple,” Harsin said. “She (Kes) was excited about it. She felt how this opportunity would fit our family.”
Another factor of the decision was how his family beliefs aligned with those of Auburn. The first time he read the Auburn Creed, Harsin knew he needed to do some research and figure out exactly what it means to him.
“The principles that are in it right now I believe in. They fit who I am as a person.” Harsin said. “They fit who I am as a coach, and what I believe in, and the things that stand out in the creed: Work hard work. Education and knowledge. Honesty and truthfulness. Sound mind and sound body. Mutual helpfulness. Love of country, service and God.”
“And those values are the values that I feel are important and certainly what we need here in our program at Auburn. There is no bigger platform, alright, from the football standpoint, there is no bigger platform than Auburn University and Auburn football period, in my opinion. And that was one of the key reasons why I made this decision.”
As for his plans for his first year as Auburn’s coach, Harsin’s number one goal is just to win today.
“Be 1-0 today. So, I'm a pretty task-at-hand type guy,” Harsin said.
Even in regards to the Iron Bowl rivalry, Harsin believes it is important to view every single game and every single practice as important. The danger lies in placing too much significance on a single game.
"Those moments become too big,” Harsin said. “I understand the rivalry. I understand the Iron Bowl from where I've sat in the past.”
According to Harsin, the keys lie in spring ball, in the weight room, in the nutrition program and in all of the preparation leading up to the season.
“Every day that we put the work in necessary to be able to play in games like that and I'm going to tell you right now it's going to be Game 1 we're going to be focused on,” Harsin said.
“Because it's important to me that the team, when we go out there, regardless, every time we snap the ball, we're competitive.”
Harsin plans to focus on the current players, making sure they are prepared to come back and work starting in January. While he has been able to connect with the team via Zoom, he is hoping to meet the players face-to-face soon to start taking those first necessary steps ahead of spring and summer work.
With the Citrus Bowl less than a week away, Harsin knows the importance of finishing the season strong with a bowl game win. He does believe he will be present in Orlando for the matchup.
“I'm looking forward to seeing those guys go out there and compete and finish the season the right way,” Harsin said. “And I support them and I support their coaches to go out there and do exactly that.”
The Tigers will face the Northwestern Wildcats in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. on Jan. 1. Kickoff is set for noon CT and the game will broadcast on ABC.