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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

From The Office of Dr. Jay Gouge



Dear ,

Tomorrow we will officially introduce Auburn’s new football coach, Bryan Harsin. It’s an exciting time for the Auburn family, one we can all get excited about. We have every reason to be confident about a future where our football team consistently competes at the highest levels and makes us proud on and off the field.

Let me begin by saying thank you to Coach Malzahn for some great “highs” in Auburn football. Coach Malzahn is a man of great character, his student-athletes performed well athletically and academically, and his teams always played by the rules. In every regard, he represented Auburn with class and distinction. Thank you, Gus and Kristi. You are forever members of the Auburn family.

When this process started, I asked Athletics Director Allen Greene to select a small group of Auburn men and women to advise and support him as we looked for a new football coach. We had a singular focus – to find a coach who will succeed in the toughest conference and who will represent Auburn well. Allen and the advisory group aimed high and hit high. They found the right man at the right time, and we welcome Coach Harsin.

We are fortunate to be members of an Auburn family passionate about our university. In the past couple of weeks, we received countless emails and notes with suggestions on selecting our next coach. Let me add that I read every one, and I appreciate your enthusiasm. Every Auburn voice is important.

It is also important to remember that not everything that is reported or posted on social media is accurate when it comes to coaching searches. In fact, some of it is disruptive, inaccurate and malicious. In our coaching search for example, no candidate was told that there were stipulations on who would serve on his coaching staff – not one. Only one trustee, who actually served on the search advisory group, had any part in the search process. Some candidates who reportedly “turned down” the Auburn job were never even offered the job. One candidate that made these statements never even had an interview, much less an offer.

Coach Harsin and I agree on many things and one thing is that much of what you see and read on social media are opinions or statements that are simply not based on fact. I regret that these comments hurt our university and many good Auburn people. Free speech is a treasured American right, but the Auburn family should also have the right to know the facts.

Tomorrow we start a new chapter for Auburn football. We wish to thank all of those who gave their input about our university and our football program, and we especially thank the Auburn family for their enthusiasm, loyalty and passion for our university. Let’s join together as we unite behind Coach Harsin and use this experience as a time of excitement and growth.

War Eagle!

Jay Gogue

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