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Auburn will be without coach Bryan Harsin as it prepares for its first game of the 2021 season.
The school announced Friday that Harsin had tested positive for COVID-19. Harsin's statement does not say whether he was vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Yesterday I tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. I am isolating at home while experiencing no symptoms," Harsin said. "As we have navigated through the pandemic, contingency plans have been in place should a situation like this arise. We prepared for this. Coach Jeff Schmedding will assume in-person head coaching duties and I will continue to participate remotely in meetings and practice. Just like in a game, teams that handle adversity and make necessary adjustments are those that are most successful. I have full confidence in our coaching staff and team. I know they will continue to prepare with the same intensity and focus that they have since camp started.”
Schmedding is a defensive assistant and the team's assistant head coach.
Harsin said at SEC media days in July that approximately 60% of his team had been vaccinated.
"For a lot of them, this is deeply personal and I respect that," Harsin said about Auburn's vaccine education efforts. "I respect that with our staff. I respect that for myself, our players, and understand that.
"So our goal is to educate and give them information and then let our players make that decision. They understand the 85 percent. They've got a chance to hear and see and read all about those things, and I believe in our players. I believe in our medical staff. And I believe in the way that we've educated our players to make the right decisions and understand and respect their decisions and know that it's personal."
Harsin said earlier this month that the team's vaccination rate had improved, but that he wasn't sure if it would reach the recommended 80% vaccination rate by the SEC.
Harsin was hired at Auburn after Gus Malzahn was fired at the end of the 2020 season. Harsin came to Auburn after a seven-year stint at Boise State where his teams went 69-19.
Auburn opens the season on Sep. 4 at home against Akron.
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