John Cohen and Nelle Cohen

Report: Auburn could poach John Cohen from Mississippi State



Well, it appears as if the Auburn Tigers might end up poaching Mississippi State’s John Cohen away from Starkville. According to *checks notes* a number of reports, the Tigers appear to be interested in hiring Cohen. As the folks over at the Clarion Ledger report, a deal is apparently close to being made.

And that leads to an interesting question:

Will John Cohen leave Mississippi State for Auburn?

Yeah, it’s certainly possible. Auburn has a wealth of resources available. Sure, MSU recently provided Cohen with a contract extension and he’s done a great job in Starkville, but the folks over at Auburn would potentially be willing to throw a lot of money for a pretty good athletics director to help steer their ship.

It really wasn’t that long ago that Scott Stricklin, who like Cohen is also a MSU alumnus, left for Florida.

And while some try to dismiss things from Mississippi’s largest newspaper, it’s worth noting that the Clarion Ledger isn’t the only institution of journalism that is reporting on all of this. A number of different outlets are sharing this news.

Regardless of how you feel about how Cohen has performed, it’s pretty significant news that the Tigers are interested in hiring him away from his alma mater (and the place where he helped secure a national championship-winning coach for).

Auburn Tigers reportedly interested in Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen

Cohen, who stepped into the role as Mississippi State’s athletics director after Scott Stricklin left for the Florida Gators in 2016, previously served as Mississippi State’s baseball coach. He’s got pretty strong ties to the university as an alumni of MSU.

And now it appears that he could be leaving.

This is pretty big. The Auburn job is a pretty enviable position due to its budget, the size of the university, and the way boosters and fans buy in to support their athletes. But it also comes with an insane amount of pressure. All athletic departments are consistently trying to keep up with the Jones, but trying to do that when your primary rival is Alabama and Alabama’s football program is led by Nick Saban can be a pretty tough thing to do.

But that’s apparently a challenge that Cohen is reportedly willing to entertain.

Auburn needs an AD and maybe a new football coach

The Tigers are in a mess right now.

They don’t have an athletics director and they have a head football coach that many are unhappy with. They need someone to step in and make a hire sooner rather than later. And if they can get an athletics director who has some notable experience hiring coaches (Cohen has had to hire a few during his time in Starkville), then they can get the ball rolling figuring out what to do with Bryan Harsin.

And so, throwing money at Cohen to get that process started ASAP would make some sense.

What happens if John Cohen leaves Mississippi State for Auburn?

Losing Cohen to Auburn would potentially lead to some intriguing situations for Mississippi State.

I’m intrigued by how it will impact Mike Leach’s job security. There are a number of fans who have been displeased with MSU’s inability to compete in tough road contests and some fault Leach for that. There’s growing pressure on Leach due to things like disastrous road losses to LSU, Kentucky, and Alabama and then Leach’s struggles in the Egg Bowl.

Some have just flat out grown tired of the Air Raid (and its beauty and brilliance) and also the drawbacks that the offense inherently has.

Should State end up needing a new athletics director and the Bulldogs end the football season at 7-5, how secure will Leach’s job be? Would a new AD continue to give Leach time to figure things out or would they be interested in making a change sooner rather than later?

For more independent Mississippi State news and commentary, follow The Underdog Tribune on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Ethan Lee on Facebook and Twitter.


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