LSU announced Saturday it removed the interim tag from Ed Orgeron and made him the Tigers’ new head football coach. Ross Dellenger of the Advocate first reported the news Saturday morning.
LSU vice chancellor and athletics director Joe Alleva spoke about the move in the team’s release:
This is a great day for LSU and for all of Louisiana. We got our man and he’s been here all along. Coach Orgeron has demonstrated his ability to run this program with excellence, even under difficult circumstances. Coach O earned this job.
I worked closely with [LSU] President [F. King] Alexander and board leadership throughout a very deliberate process. By the end of that process, our decision was clear. Coach Orgeron took us step by step through every aspect of his plans for this program and there was no question that he is the man to lead LSU football.
“There was never a day where I felt like I wouldn’t have a chance to get this job,” Orgeron told reporters. “And that’s all I wanted.”
Orgeron also said, “My goal is to build a championship program fast—very fast.”
LSU had been linked to Houston head coach Tom Herman in recent days. James Smith of the Times-Picayune reported Friday the Tigers were focused on Herman after they weren’t able to get Jimbo Fisher to leave Florida State.
But the program stuck with its in-house candidate after meeting with Orgeron on Friday to discuss his long-term plans. Dellenger noted the 55-year-old Louisiana native “blew away” those in attendance with his detailed vision for the program’s future.
ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy provided further information:
LSU "wasn’t going to be held hostage. In the end, they chose guy who wanted the job & not guy who wanted the money” source told @ESPN
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) November 26, 2016
Orgeron previously served as Ole Miss’ head coach from 2005 through 2007. He compiled a 10-25 record with no winning seasons or bowl appearances.
The longtime assistant made a much better impression while serving in an interim role, first with USC in 2013 and then with LSU this year. He went 6-2 with the Trojans and is 5-1 with the Tigers since taking the reins from Les Miles, who was let go in late September.
In early November, Andrew Lopez of the Times-Picayune passed along comments Orgeron made during a television interview with College GameDay‘s Samantha Ponder about what he’s changed since his first stint as a head coach:
Building confidence. There are some things that in five years I was not a head coach I said I wanted to implement. I implemented them at USC and they worked very well. I have the confidence that those practice schedules we had at USC are working at LSU. Our guys are playing with energy, they’re fresh and they’re ready to go.
Dellenger reported Orgeron’s contract will be worth around $3 million per year and that he’s expected to approach Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin to fill the same position on the Tigers’ staff.
LSU likely saved some money by hiring Orgeron. Last weekend, McMurphy noted the bidding war for Herman was expected to start “at a minimum of $5.5 million,” and Smith reported the program offered Fisher $6.8 million annually.
Orgeron and the Tigers are awaiting a bowl bid after they beat Texas A&M 54-39 on Thursday to finish the regular season 7-4.