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Harvard Football Head Coach Search Down to 4 Finalists

The search for Harvard's next football coach has narrowed to four candidates, including two current assistant head coaches.
The search for Harvard's next football coach has narrowed to four candidates, including two current assistant head coaches. By Nicholas T. Jacobsson
By Jo B. Lemann and Tyler J.H. Ory, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard Athletics has narrowed its search for a new head football coach down to four candidates, according to four people familiar with the process.

Harvard football assistant head coaches Scott A. Larkee ’99 and Joel K. Lamb ’93 are the two internal finalists. The two other finalists, both external candidates, are Sean Ryan, an offensive analyst for the University of South Carolina, and Andrew Aurich, a tight ends coach at Rutgers University.

College spokesperson Jonathan Palumbo declined to comment on the hiring process, writing that the college “does not comment on personnel matters.”

The update on the search comes three weeks after Harvard football’s former coach, Tim Murphy, announced his retirement following 30 years with the team. Harvard Athletics announced a “national search” for Murphy’s successor upon his retirement.

Larkee, who is currently the Crimson’s defensive coordinator, has served in the role for 15 seasons and was the 2012 Gridiron Club of Boston’s Assistant Coach of the Year. He also played as a linebacker for Harvard, graduating with the third most career tackles, according to athletic department records.

Larkee neither confirmed nor denied his position as a finalist for the head coach position when reached for comment.

Lamb — who was previously the team’s offensive coordinator — currently serves as the quarterbacks coach and is in his 18th season with the team. A former Crimson quarterback, he won the Henry N. Lamar Award his senior year for dedication and contributions to the team. In 2022, Lamb coached then-quarterback Charlie Dean to an Ivy-league best 18 touchdowns and 2,101 passing yards.

In a conversation with players following Murphy’s retirement, Harvard Athletic Director Erin McDermott told players she was leaning toward an outside hire to fill the position, according to a Harvard football player in attendance.

Players have previously spoken out in support of Harvard Athletics hiring one of the current coaches on the team, with many players throwing their support behind Larkee.

In conversations with The Crimson on Tuesday, players continued to express their support for Larkee.

“Our team has always supported Larkee, just because of the man he is, how much time he’s dedicated to this program, and just his track record throughout his time at Harvard football,” one Harvard football player told The Crimson.

McDermott also addressed the search process in a press conference the day after Murphy’s announcement. She noted that she was looking for candidates who would be able to deal with the large team and recruiting responsibilities.

“And of course, we want someone who knows the game, is able to teach, has proven themselves effective on the field with players,” McDermott said.

In an email to Harvard fans on Monday, Murphy wrote about his gratitude for his time at Harvard football.

“It has been an incredible honor to be your football coach,” Murphy wrote. “I am forever grateful to have been blessed to work with so many amazing people, starting with the 1,000 student-athletes and 80-plus assistant coaches during my tenure here.”

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

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

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