AP source: Auburn finalizing deal to hire Miss St AD Cohen

Auburn is finalizing a deal to hire Mississippi State athletic John Cohen to the same position for the SEC West rival school.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Saturday that the school and Cohen were close to an agreement. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because a deal was not yet done.

Cohen is in his seventh year as athletic director at Mississippi State after a long career as a successful baseball coach. His first job could be to decide the fate of football coach Bryan Harsin, whose team is at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference Western Division after ending his first season in 2021 with five straight losses.

The Tigers lost their fourth straight game Saturday, 41-27 to Arkansas.

Former athletic director Allen Greene, who hired Harsin from Boise State, resigned just before the season citing professional reasons.

The woes surrounding the football program continued into the offseason and haven't abated. A school investigation into Harsin's program followed an exodus of players and coaches.

It ended with then-President Jay Gogue decrying unspecified ''wild speculation'' and misinformation surrounding Harsin.

Auburn's buyout of Harsin would be more than $15 million if the school decides to fire him.

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AP Sports Writer John Zenor in Auburn, Alabama, contributed to this report.

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