An experienced coach and highly regarded recruiter who has spent the last 20 years coaching in the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast Conferences, Charlie Harbison, who helped the Tigers to a 2013 SEC Championship and a BCS Championship berth, enters his second season as co-defensive coordinator at Auburn, working daily with the AU safeties.
In 2013, Auburn had the second biggest turnaround in college football history in NCAA records at +8.0 games. Harbison coached junior Robenson Therezie, who was named an Associated Press honorable mention All-SEC selection at the star position.
Prior to coming to Auburn, Harbison spent the previous four seasons in a similar capacity at Clemson.Harbison and Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson worked together at Clemson (1995-96), Alabama (1998-2000) and at Mississippi State (2007).
Named one of nation's top-25 recruiters by Rivals in 2010, Harbison helped Clemson to back-to-back 10-win seasons, including the 2011 ACC Championship, the program's first in 20 years, and an Orange Bowl appearance. Harbison coached cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, who had 14 passes defended in 2011 and was drafted by the Tennessee Titans. His secondary was ranked in the top 26 in the nation in pass efficiency defense in 2009 and 2010, while coaching first-team All-America safety DeAndre McDaniel in 2009 and 2010. McDaniel led the ACC and was tied for third in the nation in interceptions (8) in 2009.
He helped Clemson to a top-25 ranking and the ACC Atlantic Division title in 2009. Clemson had 21 interceptions, fifth-most in Tiger history and tied for fifth-most in the nation. Clemson was seventh in the nation in passing defense. Prior to his tenure at Clemson, Harbison spent two seasons at Mississippi State (2007-08). After just one season, he was elevated to defensive coordinator, while also coaching safeties. The Bulldogs were seventh in the nation in pass defense and 20th in the nation in pass efficiency defense in 2007.
Harbison had a pair of coaching stints at Alabama from 1998-2000 and 2003-06. He coached the Crimson Tide wide receivers during his second stint, helping Alabama to a 26-24 overall record, including three bowl berths. During that four-year stretch, Harbison helped receivers D. J. Hall, Antonio Carter and Triandos Luke rank among the school's all-time top 10 pass-catchers. Two of Hall's single-season receiving totals were among the best ever at the school. Following the 2005 season, he was honored as one of the nation's top 25 college football recruiters by Rivals.com.
Harbison coached defensive backs in his initial stay from 1998-2000. He helped Alabama to the 1999 Southeastern Conference title and appearances in the 1998 Music City and 2000 Orange Bowls. Two of his pupils, Fernando Bryant (1999) and Tony Dixon (2001) were taken in the first and second rounds of the NFL Draft.
Between the Alabama assignments, Harbison coached the defensive backfield at LSU in 2001 and '02. He was a member of the Tiger coaching staff that won the 2001 SEC title, finished 18-8 overall and played in the 2002 Sugar and 2003 Cotton Bowls. Corey Webster, who played under Harbison his first two years in Baton Rouge, finished his career second on the school's all-time pass interception list.
Harbison served as the defensive backs coach at Clemson from 1995-97. The Tigers posted a 22-14 mark during those three years, ending those seasons in the Gator and back-to-back Peach Bowls. One of his pupils was nine-time Pro Bowl selection Brian Dawkins. He was an All-American and led the ACC in interceptions in Harbison's first year at Clemson (1995).
Harbison also coached the secondary at UTEP (1994) and served twice at his alma mater, Gardner-Webb, coaching wide receivers (1992-93) and defensive backs (1984-85). In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, he worked in both the Arena Football League and the World League of American Football. His pro football coaching resume includes serving as defensive coordinator for the Charlotte Rage (1993).
A native of Shelby, N.C., Harbison graduated from Gardner-Webb College with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1995. A two-sport star in football and track on the college level, he was a free-agent signee of the Buffalo Bills following his senior season.
He is married to the former Tammy McCluney, a retail merchandise and design graduate of Kinds College. The couple has four children, Charlie, Stedman, Masai and Msiba.