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Andrew Aurich Introduced as 31st Head Coach of Harvard Football

Andrew Aurich, left, was introduced as the new Harvard Football head coach at a Thursday press conference. Above, Harvard Athletics Director Erin McDermott poses for a photo with Aurich.
Andrew Aurich, left, was introduced as the new Harvard Football head coach at a Thursday press conference. Above, Harvard Athletics Director Erin McDermott poses for a photo with Aurich. By Addison Y. Liu
By Jo B. Lemann and Tyler J.H. Ory, Crimson Staff Writers

Athletic Director Erin McDermott officially introduced Andrew Aurich as the next head coach for Harvard Football at a press conference on Thursday.

Aurich, who previously served as a tight ends coach at Rutgers, played college football at Princeton, where he later became offensive coordinator. He also spent one year as a defensive assistant in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Aurich shared that his exposure to the sport in his youth prompted his interest in coaching, saying “I just grew up around the game of football.”

“Even though I was a little kid, I could see the impact my dad was having on his players and it stuck with me,” he said.

Aurich said there were “a lot of reasons” to join Harvard’s football program, citing its “brand recognition” and the “best undergraduate education in the world.”

Aurich also pointed to the difference between Ivy League and traditional collegiate athletics and said the Ivy League model “is the best one” because of the “balance between academics and athletics.”

Aurich said his vision as head coach is to help students in four areas: academics, athletic potential, social development, and post-graduate life.

“The expectation should be that I’m developing young men who are going to be great husbands; great fathers; great siblings, brothers, coworkers, and leaders that the Harvard community can look back at and be really proud of.”

In a Q&A following the press conference, Aurich responded to criticism from some alumni and players on his lack of head coaching experience.

“To me, it’s all about building relationships with people and getting to know them better, letting them find out who I am and what I’m about,” Aurich said.

McDermott also addressed the blowback she received for the decision and expressed her confidence in Aurich, saying the criticism stems from people’s passion for the program.

“This stuff is emotional,” McDermott said. “It’s about people; it’s about relationships. So, it’s not surprising.”

Greg Schiano, the head coach of Rutgers, spoke to The Crimson about Aurich’s qualifications for the position.

“I have a lot of respect for him. I’ve seen him grow as a coach. And I think he has really prepared himself his whole career for this opportunity,” Schiano said. “I think he’s gonna do a great job.”

Schiano also commented on Aurich’s connection with his players.

“He was a great teacher, always took great care of his players, very involved in their lives, and would be demanding but always a very accepting, very involved coach in their personal life,” Schiano said.

On Wednesday, McDermott also held an introductory meeting with players and Aurich.

Justin D. Leszynski ’25, a current Harvard football player who attended the meeting, said despite an earlier push from some players for an internal hire, players were excited to meet the coach and “put a face behind a name.”

“Most people don’t come here to play for the coaches,” Leszynski said. “Coach Murphy, Coach Larkee, Coach Aurich, whoever, they just want to play for Harvard and be here.”

Players expressed their continued frustration with McDermott for not addressing that players found out about the hire from X rather than directly from her.

“A lot of people expected her to address that or apologize or make some comment about it, but we did not get that,” Leszynski said.

McDermott declined to comment on the criticism “beyond what was said during and after the press conference.”

—Staff writer Jo B. Lemann can be reached at jo.lemann@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @Jo_Lemann.

—Staff writer Tyler J.H. Ory can be reached at tyler.ory@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @tyler_ory.

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