College football: Ed Orgeron named 33rd head coach in LSU football history

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BATON ROUGE — Ed Orgeron, who led the Tigers to a 5-2 mark as interim coach over the past two months, has been named LSU’s head football coach, vice chancellor and director of athletics Joe Alleva announced on Saturday.

Orgeron, a native of Larose, La., becomes the 33rd head football coach in LSU history. Orgeron, who has also served as head coach at Ole Miss and Southern Cal, is 11-4 in his Past 15 games as a head coach, which includes a 6-2 mark as interim coach at USC.

“This is a great day for LSU and for all of Louisiana,” Alleva said. “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 (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.”

Since taking over as interim coach of the Tigers on Sept. 25, Orgeron guided LSU to a 5-2 mark, beating four Southeastern Conference opponents — Missouri, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M — all by double-digits. LSU’s two losses during that span came by a total of 16 points as the Tigers held top-ranked Alabama scoreless for three quarters and came up a yard short in falling to Florida, 16-10.

“Growing up in the state of Louisiana, watching the Tigers play, we get it. We understand what you gave to us, the accountability we have to the state of Louisiana, to LSU and everybody that’s played here before,” Orgeron said in his press conference Saturday.

“My goal is to build a championship program fast, very fast. I understand the expectations at LSU and I invite them, because I have the same expectations of myself and my staff. My plan is to take my time and assemble the best staff in America. We have some great coaches on our staff right now, led by (defensive coordinator) Dave Aranda. He is the best coordinator in football. We plan on him being with us. I spoke with him this morning. We’re happy that Dave is an LSU Tiger, I promise you that.

“This is about our players giving back to the state of Louisiana. This is a great day. This is a great day in my life, obviously. But it’s not about me, it’s about the people of Louisiana, it’s about LSU, about all of us pulling together, one team, one heartbeat.”

Asked about how quickly LSU can compete for the SEC championship, Orgeron said “very fast.”

LSU’s loss to Alabama was its sixth in a row. Orgeron said he expects to be judged by how the Tigers do against the Tide in the future.

“Yes, you are judged by that game,” he said. “That’s the nature of the beast. I welcome it. I bring it on. I can’t wait till the day we beat those guys. That’s the benchmark. Now, we have to recruit better. We have to get players that are very similar to the benchmark of this conference. We have to get coaches that can coach at that level. We have some coaches on the staff that can. We have to have the mindset that we can go out and beat those guys.

“I tell you what, for the most part of that last time we played them, we had it. There’s a couple of pieces missing. We plan to fix those pieces so we can get that job accomplished. That is the benchmark every day we go to work. We understand the benchmark.”

In seven games under Orgeron, LSU set offensive records for most yards in a SEC game (634 vs. Missouri), longest scoring play from scrimmage (Derrius Guice 96-yard TD run vs. Arkansas), and twice set the school single-game rushing record (Leonard Fournette 284 yards vs. Ole Miss, Derrius Guice 285 yards vs. Texas A&M).

Orgeron was asked about his offensive philosophy and the reports that he’s be pursuing Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.

“We’re going to look at recruiting the best offensive coordinator in football and bring him to LSU,” he said. “I do believe that nowadays you have to run the spread offense. You have to have dual-threat quarterbacks that can run the ball and throw it. But you have to have somebody who knows how to run it.

“We still want to be a physical football team. We have great backs at LSU. We have one of the best backs in the country coming back next year in Derrius Guice. We’re going to recruit some of the best backs in the country. We have some great backs on our team that we haven’t played so we have to use those guys. We want to use our skill sets. We want to use our tight ends, throwing the football like we did in our last game.”

Defensively, LSU held opponents scoreless for 14 of 28 quarters under Orgeron and limited the opposition to an average of 10.3 points per game over the seven contests. With 39 points, Texas A&M became the only team to score more than 21 points against LSU this year. Overall, LSU’s defense, under Aranda, ranks in the top three in the SEC in three major categories – scoring, total defense and rushing defense.

Orgeron originally joined the Tiger staff in 2015 as defensive line coach, before adding the title of recruiting coordinator in the spring of 2016.

In his first year with the Tigers in 2015, Orgeron’s defensive front served as a catalyst for a Tiger defense that ranked No. 3 in the SEC in both rushing yards (122.9 yards per game) and sacks (34). Six times in 2015 LSU’s defense help opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing in a game, including limiting Mississippi State to 43 yards in the season-opener and Texas Tech to 29 in the Texas Bowl.

Prior to joining the LSU staff, Orgeron’s last coaching stop came at Southern Cal where he served as recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach for the Trojans for four years (2010-13). Orgeron was elevated to interim head coach at USC for the final eight games of the 2013 season, leading the Trojans to a 6-2 mark over that span.

In three years as head coach at Ole Miss, Orgeron was 10-24, including 3-21 in the SEC.

“I’ve had my chances before,” he said. “I’m ready to build a championship program along with a great staff. I’m going to need support in all areas. We’re going to get the best staff, the best team together for the LSU Tigers.

“I feel the time I spent at USC as an interim head coach allowed me to be a better coach at LSU. The day has come where it’s time to be the head coach and have a lot of success.”

As a player, Orgeron was a four-year starter on the defensive line for Northwestern State, captaining the Demons as a senior. He received his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Northwestern State in 1984.

He starred in football, basketball and track at South Lafourche High in Galliano, La. On the big screen, Orgeron played himself in the 2009 Oscar-nominated movie, “The Blind Side.”

Born July 27, 1961, he and his wife, Kelly, have three sons, Tyler, and twins Parker and Cody. Tyler is a member of the LSU football support staff, while twins Parker and Cody are in their first year as part of the McNeese State football team.

Orgeron became emotional during the press conference when thanking his family, especially his parents.

“Everybody in the state of Louisiana will have a hope and a dream,” he said. “It just goes to show that when you work hard, you have integrity, you have a great background of leadership, you’re around people that love sports, love football. All my dad asked me to do was to go to work and give a man a great day’s work, do the best you can every day. He told me, he said, listen, I don’t care what you do, just be the best at it. Along with that advice, there’s somebody out there today that will get motivation from that.

“I love the people of Louisiana. I’m from there. We stopped yesterday at a gas station. Everybody came up to us, Coach, we want you to be the coach. I know Louisiana is happy today. There’s a bunch of prayer groups, a bunch of churches have been on our side. North Louisiana, South Louisiana, Lake Charles, to Boutte, everybody is happy, and so am I.”

— Michael Bonnette, LSU Senior Associate Athletic Director/SID and Staff Reports
— Feature Photo/Chris Parent, LSU

Ed Orgeron File
Year at LSU: Second (appointed Jan. 14, 2015)
Birthdate: July 27, 1961, in Larose, La.
Wife: Kelly
Children: Tyler, Parker, Cody
High School: South Lafourche High School (Galliano, La.)
College: Northwestern State (La.), 1984

Playing Experience
1981-84 Northwestern (La.) State (defensive line)

Coaching Experience
1984 Northwestern (La.) State (graduate assistant)
1985 McNeese State (graduate assistant)
1986-87 Arkansas (assistant strength coach)
1988-92 Miami (Fla.) (graduate assistant, 1988; defensive line 1989-92)
1994 Nicholls State (linebackers)
1995-97 Syracuse (defensive line)
1998-2004 Southern Cal (defensive line, 1998-2002; recruiting coordinator, 2001-04)
2005-07 Ole Miss (head coach)
2008 New Orleans Saints (defensive line)
2009 Tennessee (defensive line/recruiting coordinator)
2010-12 Southern Cal (defensive coordinator/defensive line/recruiting coordinator, 2010-13; interim head coach, 2013)
2015-16 LSU (defensive line; recruiting coordinator, 2016; interim head coach, Sept. 25, 2016, head coach, Nov. 26, 2016)