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Look: Auburn President Warns Fans About 'Malicious' Social Media Reports

Auburn football players celebrating after a game.

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 3: Members of the Auburn Tigers celebrate with fans after defeating the Texas A&M Aggies at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 3 2018 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Auburn football has its new coach in Bryan Harsin. With a tumultuous coaching search over, the university is looking to set the record straight on how things went down.

After firing Gus Malzahn, there were wide reports that defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was a major candidate for the job, with some suggestion he may have played a role in Malzahn's ouster, as a favored candidate of influential boosters within the program. There was significant fan backlash to the notion that Steele was going to be the choice, after which the search opened up quite a bit.

Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and Clemson offensive and defensive coordinators Tony Elliott and Brent Venables were all floated as potential interviews for the job. They shot the speculation down. Louisiana head coach Billy Napier and UAB's Bill Clark were both named as candidates as well.

There have been reports that Clark specifically declined the job, however far along he was in the process, because he wasn't going to be given full hiring power over his staff. Obviously that is a huge bone of contention for any coach you're bringing in. Ahead of Harsin's introduction, Auburn president Jay Gogue put out a lengthy statement rejecting that notion, and others that have been out there.

In the note, he acknowledges the school's passionate boosters, while trying to strike back against the idea that a few of them have outsized influence over the hiring process. He also flatly rejected the coaching staff reports.

"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."

Bryan Harsin will be introduced as Auburn's next head coach at 4:30 p.m. ET today. [

Jay Gogue sends out a statement through email before tomorrow’s introductory press conference:

— Christian Clemente (@CClemente__) December 24, 2020

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