Next Auburn Head Football Coach Odds: Lane Kiffin Rumored Target
Dan Kilbridge | 4 mins
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New Auburn athletic director John Cohen didn’t waste anytime getting down to business. The former Mississippi State AD fired Auburn football coach Bryan Harsin less than 48 hours after it was reported the Tigers were close to a deal with the new head of the department. Harsin had been the favorite on our next college football head coach to be fired betting board.
Harsin’s departure isn’t at all surprising given the 9-12 record on his resume midway through Year 2. The Tigers have lost four straight games after a 3-1 start to the season and a second-half collapse in a 41-27 home loss to Arkansas was the final straw.
Auburn has only had two 10-win seasons since 2010 and the Tigers were spiraling fast under Harsin. The school did not name an interim coach immediately after news broke of Harsin’s departure, and the bigwigs certainly see this as one of the most important hires the school will ever make.
Next Auburn Head Football Coach Odds
Odds created by Bookies.com handicapping team and do not reflect odds that may be available on legal betting apps.
Schools like Auburn generally don’t take chances with these types of hires. An SEC powerhouse is looking for an experienced, proven-winner and a big name to excite the fan base. There are a few of those theoretically in play for the Tigers, including Liberty coach Hugh Freeze. He just signed a lengthy contract extension with the Flames, who are 33-12 under Freeze since 2019, but Auburn has the finances to work around it. The former Ole Miss coach stepped down from the Rebels due to recruiting violations, but those things aren’t necessarily a dealbreaker – especially when he continued to win big at a school like Liberty.
The Rebels’ current head man, Lane Kiffin, will certainly be on the shortlist as well. Vast knowledge of the south and its recruiting landscape is big and Kiffin presumably checks all the boxes. He’s 18-4 over the last two seasons with Ole Miss and might be interested in leveling up at a program like Auburn, where it’s there for the taking if you bring the goods on the field.
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In the former big-time player department, there’s one obvious choice – Deion “Primetime” Sanders. The NFL Hall of Famer has gone 22-5 so far in his first head coaching job at Jackson State and said over the weekend he would certainly entertain Power 5 offers if they arrive in the coming weeks.
Those are the three most likely names at the top of the board, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Tigers go with someone like Lance Leipold or Bill O’Brien. Leipold is a master of the rebuild and has done so this season under far more challenging circumstances at Kansas. He’ll be in the mix for several vacancies, likely Nebraska and Wisconsin as well, but Auburn is a tempting destination.
O’Brien certainly knows the conference and has a vast understanding of the Alabama-Auburn rivalry as the Tide’s current offensive coordinator. NFL experience can be a plus in recruiting as well, and O’Brien might be ready to test the college head coaching waters again after a successful two-year stint at Penn State from 2012-2013.