Auburn Hires New Athletic Director From Fellow SEC School

Auburn looks to be finally hiring an athletic director after a long search. According to a report, Mississippi State’s John Cohen has agreed to take the same position at Auburn.

Jon Sokoloff reports Cohen finalized the deal with Auburn late Saturday afternoon. John Cohen is in the seventh year of his tenure in Starkville after taking over for current Florida AD Scott Stricklin. After a long stint as a baseball coach, Cohen transitioned into the administration role.

Cohen would takeover for former athletic director Allen Greene, who negotiated a buyout with Auburn after learning he would not return when his contract ended in January. Now, the Tigers are coming off a bad loss to Arkansas and a decision needs to be made on head coach Bryan Harsin.


The situation in Auburn is not healthy, especially with the investigation into Harsin that took place in the off-season. Now the job will be to turn around a football program that’s been heading in the wrong direction for multiple years. The buyout for Harsin would be more than $15 Million, which at least half paid within sixty days of firing.

Bryan Harsin said following the loss to Arkansas that the Tigers ‘Weren’t Good Enough’ right now as a football program.

This would be the third AD to make a move between SEC schools. Ross Bjork left Ole Miss for Texas A&M, Scott Woodard left Texas A&M for LSU.

John Cohen was the head baseball coach at Mississippi State from 2009-2016. He signed an extension with the Bulldogs this past July, raising his salary to $1.1 Million, with a $250,000 buyout. In a small twist of fate, Auburn will play Mississippi State next weekend.

How the university decides to handle the next steps with Harsin will be the first order for any athletic director. Harsin took almost an hour after the loss to Arkansas on Saturday to show up for his postgame press conference.


Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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  1. While there were some malcontents among MSState alumni, Cohen had almost 100% support in his role. That he ran the baseball program that is pretty much worshiped in Starkville. He doesn’t have much history in Auburn and jumps into a festering mess of a football program with a coach that is almost above termination.

    I’ve personally enjoyed his long history in Starkville and wish him well on the wrong side of Alabama. I hope he gets everything he deserves.

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