Auburn University President Jay Gogue announced on Friday that head football coach Brian Harsin will stay on for another year.

“I am pleased to report that the evaluation of concerns raised regarding our football program is complete," Gouge said in a prepared statement. "I am equally pleased to confirm that Bryan Harsin remains our head football coach."

Gogue had earlier announced an investigation into the football program after a number of players transferred out of the program and some assistant coaches left, with one offensive coordinator leaving after just 44 days on the job.

"As an institution of higher education, Auburn will always take the action necessary to ensure the well-being of its students, faculty, and staff,” Gogue continued. “Recently, individuals raised concerns to my administration about the football program. The nature of these concerns compelled a fact-finding review. To do nothing would have been an abdication of the university's responsibilities.

"Over the past week, my administration conducted that review. It included meetings and interviews with current and former football coaching and administrative staff, numerous players, university administrators and other individuals who offered perspective on the issues that had been raised. To be clear, this process, which was never individual or outcome-specific, did not yield information that should change the status of our coaching staff or football program."

Harsin was reportedly on vacation when the investigation was announced. He called the allegation a personal attack, and not about his coaching.

“This has been one of the hardest weeks of my career and it had nothing to do with my coaching ability," Harsin said in a statement. "The personal attacks on me and my family went too far and were without justification. Their resolve through this experience has been incredible but also completely expected. We saw and felt the worst of the worst in some people. Fortunately, we also saw the best of the best in others and we will always be grateful for the support of so many through a very difficult time -  our players, staff, the Auburn family, and many others.”

This was a victory for Auburn Athletics Director Allen Greene, who hired Harsin as head coach last year.

“I’m confident that the Auburn Family will rally behind the tremendous young men in the Auburn football program, Coach Harsin, and his dedicated staff who are collectively working towards a bright future,” Greene said on Twitter.

Conflict surrounded the hiring of Harsin began almost immediately. Many supporters of the football program at Auburn allegedly had wanted Auburn to hire former defensive coordinator Kevin Steele as head coach. Greene and the search committee however chose Harsin, who was head football coach at Boise State.

Concerns arose following a 6-7 record in Harsin's first season, that saw Auburn start 6-2 before losing the final five games of the season for Auburn’s first losing season since 2012.

Along with the on-the-field issues, the program experienced an unusually high number of player and staff turnover, as well the lowest-ranked recruiting class in over a decade. Of the top 30 football prospects in the state of Alabama, only three signed with Auburn this past year. 

Among those players entering the NCAA transfer portal were three-year starting quarterback Bo Nix and leading receiver Kobe Hudson, who said he was dismissed from the team. Since Harsin took over as head coach on Dec. 22, 2020, six assistants have left the program, including both coordinators. Mike Bobo was fired at the end of the regular season, and his replacement, Austin Davis, resigned after just 43 days on the job. Defensive coordinator Derek Mason left take the same position at Oklahoma State for reportedly $400,000 less per year. 

Former Montgomery Quarterback Club President and Auburn Alum Perry Hooper Jr. said he would support the decision to retain Harsin. 

"My wife, Judy Hooper, was an All-American Auburn Cheerleader," Hooper said. "My oldest son, Dr. Perry O. Hooper III, was a running back under Coach (Tommy) Tuberville, and my youngest son, Davis Hooper, was a running back under Coach (Gene) Chizik.

“Auburn fans need to sit back and take a deep breath. The board and President Gouge did their job and Bryan Harsin is our football coach and he has my support. To do anything but fully support Coach Harsin would be completely counterproductive. The Auburn Family needs to relax and enjoy this historic basketball season.  Bruce Pearl is the best basketball coach in the country, and we should count our blessings that he is coaching the Orange and Blue.”

Even though it appears Harsin's job is safe, many questions continue to swirl over the program.

Auburn fired Malzahn last year, costing the school $21.45 million, one of the highest buyouts paid in college football history. Buying out Harsin would have cost Auburn another $18.55 million.

Gogue is retiring in May and Greene’s contract is expiring.  Whether or not to renew Greene and then what to do with Harsin if the 2022 season does not live up to fan expectations will fall on incoming Auburn President Chris Roberts.