Arkansas State Loses Football Coach Bryan Harsin But Gets Payday

Arkansas State Loses Football Coach Bryan Harsin But Gets Payday
Arkansas State head football coaches Hugh Freeze (2011), Gus Malzahn (2012) and Bryan Harsin (2013).

It’s not the best way to generate revenue, but Arkansas State University doubled its investment after losing its third head football coach in three years.

Bryan Harsin became the third consecutive Red Wolves coach to leave the program after one season when he accepted an offer from his alma mater, Boise State, to replace Chris Petersen. Gus Malzahn left Arkansas State for Auburn a year ago, one year after Hugh Freeze bolted for Ole Miss.

Harsin’s contract called for him to pay a $1.75 million buyout within 10 days if he left before Jan. 31, 2014. That’s more than twice the $850,000 Harsin was paid this year to lead the Red Wolves to a 7-5 record and a berth in the GoDaddy Bowl.

Boise State is to get $750,000 from the University of Washington at Seattle, which hired Petersen, to offset some of the cost of bringing in Harsin.

Hiring schools typically pay to cover the buyout clauses for incoming coaches.

ASU Athletic Director Terry Mohajir told USA Today when Harsin was hired that the large first-year buyout was non-negotiable. It didn’t prevent Harsin from leaving, but the Red Wolves got a nice parting gift.

Malzahn, who earned about $850,000, and Freeze, who made $202,000, also led Arkansas State to appearances in the GoDaddy Bowl but left before the bowl game. Malzhan’s buyout was $700,000, and Freeze’s was $225,000.

The Red Wolves will receive $750,000 for their bowl appearance, the same amount as the previous two years.