By Michael Bonnette, LSU Associate Athletic Director/Communications
Orgeron, who is in his sixth season as the Tigers’ head coach, will coach for the remainder of the 2021 schedule. Since leading LSU to the 2019 national title, Orgeron and the Tigers have gone 9-8, including a 4-3 mark in 2021. Last year, LSU went 5-5, the school’s first non-winning season since 1999.
“We have very high standards for all of our sports programs at LSU, and we will stand proudly behind our expectations of competing for SEC and national championships year in and year out,” Woodward said. “Our last two seasons have simply not met that standard, and based on our on-field results and our evaluation of the potential for future immediate success, it is time for a new direction.”
Since taking over as head coach of the Tigers four games into the 2016 season, Orgeron has led LSU to a 49-17 mark, with 20 of those victories coming against teams ranked in the Top 25. LSU has beaten 13 Top 10 teams under Orgeron, the second-most of any coach in school history.
Orgeron is the fourth-winningest coach in LSU history trailing only Charles McClendon (137 wins in 18 years), Les Miles (114 wins in 12 years) and Bernie Moore (83 wins in 13 years). His 74.2 winning percentage ranks among the top five in school history, while his four bowl victories trail only McClendon and Miles, who each won seven bowl games.
In 2019, Orgeron led LSU to the most dominant season in college football history as the Tigers beat seven Top 10 teams – the most in any season in the history of college football – on its way to claiming the school’s fourth national championship. Behind the play of Heisman Trophy quarterback Joe Burrow, LSU shattered the Southeastern Conference record book, averaging 48.4 points and 568.4 total yards per game.
Orgeron’s 2019 team won 12 of its 15 games by double-figures, including all three postseason games – a 37-10 victory over No. 4 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game; a 63-28 win over No. 4 Oklahoma in the national semifinals; a 42-25 victory over No. 2 Clemson in the national championship game.
The 2019 season came on the heels of a 10-3 mark in 2018 when the Tigers capped that year with a 40-32 win over seventh-ranked UCF in the Fiesta Bowl.
In his first full season as LSU’s head coach in 2017, Orgeron led the Tigers to a 9-4 mark with victories over No. 21 Florida and No. 10 Auburn and a berth in the Capital One Bowl. Orgeron was elevated to interim head coach of the Tigers four games into the 2016 season and had an immediate impact, directing LSU to a 5-2 mark with three wins over ranked opponents.
He was named head coach on Nov. 25, a day after LSU beat No. 22 Texas A&M. LSU closed out 2016 with a win over Louisville in the Capital One Bowl.
Individually, LSU has produced four national award winners. including the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner in Burrow, 12 first team All-Americas, and 39 NFL Draft picks – 10 of those being first rounders – under Orgeron.
LETTER FROM SCOTT WOODWARD
DEAR LSU COMMUNITY:
I write to you today to let you know that LSU Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron will not be returning for the 2022 season, concluding his tenure with the Tigers upon the completion of the 2021 season.
From my first day as LSU’s Director of Athletics in 2019, Coach O and I have maintained an open and consistent dialogue regarding the state of LSU Football. His passion and pride for our football team and for our state are unrivaled and undeniable, and, even when faced with this difficult news, he still wants what is best for the Tigers, above all else. I have asked him—and he has agreed—to remain as head coach through the end of the 2021 season, giving our team the best chance for success and continuing to aid in our recruiting efforts. I know Coach O will continue to give everything he has, as that is what he has always given our university and our state. For that dedication, for the greatest team in college football history in 2019, and for five years of relentless effort on behalf of the LSU Tigers, we are forever grateful to Coach O.
Ultimately, we have very high standards for all of our sports programs at LSU, and we will stand proudly behind our expectations of competing for SEC and national championships year in and year out. Our last two seasons have simply not met those standards, and based on our on-field results and our evaluation of the potential for future immediate success, it is time for a new direction.
The search for LSU Football’s next championship head coach begins now.
Director of Athletics
LETTER FROM COACH O
DEAR TIGER NATION:
Five years ago, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and returned to LSU to lead the Tigers into Death Valley. I have loved LSU since I first touched a football in Lafourche Parish in the late 1960s. I loved the Tigers when I enrolled as a freshman defensive lineman in 1979. I loved the Tigers when I left to continue my playing career elsewhere, and I loved them every step of my professional journey — even from far away — as my career took me across America until I returned 35 years later.
My love for LSU has only strengthened over the past five years. All I wanted to do when I accepted the position as head coach in 2016 was to build a championship program and make the state of Louisiana proud. With the hard work and support of talented players, loyal assistants, dedicated staff, and the most passionate fans in college football, we did just that in 2019.
I have always understood the expectations at LSU, and they are the same expectations I have for myself and our staff. I am disappointed that we have not met these expectations over the past two years. Thank you to the entire LSU family for the opportunity to coach one of the greatest college football teams of all-time. I’ll continue to fight, as will our team, throughout the rest of the season.
Orgeron was formally named LSU’s 32nd head coach on Nov. 26, 2016. His record heading into Saturday’s game at Ole Miss is 49-17.
— Featured photo by Chad Keith