Harsin’s Departure Could’ve Been Handled Better

Bryan Harsin has left Arkansas State for Boise State. Wednesday it became official. Over the past couple of days, depending on the source, Harsin was going to his hometown to coach his alma mater, then it was going to be former BSU coach Dirk Koetter, then Harsin had removed his name — and it was Koetter’s job for sure, then a report disputed the report about Harsin pulling his name and finally …. word came from ASU that Harsin had resigned.
What. A. Mess. A mess that Arkansas State had nothing to do with or control over. This is all on Harsin and Boise State athletic director Mark Coyle. This search seemed to be WAY too public, which led to misinformation. Remember how Arkansas A.D. Jeff Long handled the coaching search that ended with the hiring of Bret Bielema? It was air tight. So secretive that no one, not even the most diligent media members new, until UA wanted it public.
Out of respecArkansas State Football - Fall Camp 1st Practicet for ASU administration and fans, Harsin could have informed Boise State, he’d only interview for the job if he was the only candidate. Then BSU could decide if they really wanted him, and the $1.75 million buyout that comes with him. I have a feeling he didn’t do that because he thought Coyle might say, ‘OK, you can stay in Jonesboro.’
Whatever happened, it was mishandled and Harsin toyed with an already gun-shy ASU fan base. More importantly he disrespected his players. Some were shocked when students on campus shared the news on social media via smart phone. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Harsin met with his team for 20 minutes and that he hadn’t spoken with Mohajir as of late Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re coming home,” Harsin said in a statement issued by Boise State. “One of the hardest decisions we ever made was leaving Boise. We did that so I could become a better coach, so I could one day have the opportunity to return as head coach — that day has arrived.”
For the third straight year ASU has a one-and-done coach, and it doesn’t seem like he took much thought into how to depart the program that gave him his first head coaching job.
Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir did everything he could to ensure the Red Wolves weren’t just a pit stop. He took careful consideration in hiring Harsin, who had been the co-offensive coordinator at the University of Texas and offensive coordinator at Boise State. It appears the buyout gave Boise State something to think about and could have prolonged the process. It was a smart move by Mohajir and in most cases it would have prevented a school from plucking Harsin after one season.
I know Red Wolves fans are upset they have to endure yet another coaching search. However, losing Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn were much bigger blows and tougher to top for replacements.
Harsin is a good coach, and most likely will get even better, but he doesn’t have the charisma and “it” factor Freeze and Malzahn have.
Look what both have accomplished in the Southeastern Conference — the best league in the nation. Harsin is a step below and wouldn’t have been a candidate at a major BCS school. Some thought when they heard the news Harsin had allegedly withdrawn his name for the BSU job, it was because he wanted to be available to take over for Mack Brown at Texas. Really?? His stint there as Co-OC aside, there’d be a long list of coaches ahead of Harsin on UT’s wish list.
Boise State overlooked his modest 7-5 record since he is a native and played and coached there. He is a good fit and will stay as long as he’s wanted, but he’s not on the level of Freeze or Malzahn.
The new coach fills much smaller shoes. Harsin had a tough job following Malzahn, who put A-State in the national spotlight.
So, while it’s understandable that fans are restless, know that A) The program is 3-for-3 in hiring good coaches, and that finding a coach better than Harsin won’t be difficult — whether he is a young up-and-comer or older coach looking for a comeback.
Of course, Mohajir will include another hefty buyout in the new coach’s contact to try to keep this from happening a fourth time, but it may also be wise to find a coach with a connection to A-State or Arkansas.
There’s some quality names popping up, and ASU is getting some national pub for being a launching pad for talented coaches. That’s the silver lining. Harsin’s departure was uncomfortable, but it may all be for the best.

5 comments on “Harsin’s Departure Could’ve Been Handled Better
  1. Harry Taint says:

    ” Harsin could have informed Boise State, he’d only interview for the job if he was the only candidate.”

    Doesn’t seem like a good idea to be dictating terms to a potential employer.

  2. Ricky says:

    Harsin is from Boise, his father lives in Boise, his children have childhood friends in Boise, he married his wife in Boise. Think about it, it would be stupid of him to not want to go back and be the head coach at Boise. Yes ASU is a good job but it’s in the Sunbelt and until that changes it will always be a stepping stone job. Dont knock Harsin for going back home and coaching his dream job, I would do the same exact thing.

  3. Chris says:

    If ASU was smart, we would go after the Offensive Coordinator for Auburn. He was here with Malzahn and needs his first Head Coaching job. He obviously knows the offense.

  4. We should go after the offensive coordinator for Auburn. He was here with Malzahn and should maybe wont his first head Coaching job.

  5. Don says:

    Sorry Nate but your blog is full if misinformation. Harsin never withdrew his name from this job even once. The search was kept extremely quiet by the BSU athletic dept. No one in Boise even knew that Harsin got the job until AState’s sideline reporter tweeted it before Harsin told his team which he was schedules to do and which he did. The whole Koetter misinfo was leaked from Atlanta by another coach on the Falcon’s staff who made assumptions and leaked it. Even those like me who have inside sources to the BSU athletic dept, didn’t have any clue who it was until Jonesboro sources leaked it Wed morning. So blame Hardin and or BSU for the misinformation if you want but they kept that info close to the vest. No one in Boise knew. They did a masterful job. It’s unfortunate you assumed so much when you wrote this blog. You sound emotional about it. Time for some fact checking next time.