'Coach O' is LSU's permanent head football coach
LSU announced Ed Orgeron as its new football coach during a press conference on Saturday.
University leaders worked through the night ahead of an expected interview in Texas with Houston coach Tom Herman. Herman, one of two finalists with Orgeron, informed LSU leaders at 5 a.m. that he was leaning toward becoming Texas’ new head football coach, and decision-makers then ended discussions with Herman and his agent, Trace Armstrong.
Orgeron, 55, “blew away” LSU decision-makers in a meeting Friday, sources said. He brought with him a massive binder detailing long-term plans, which included the hiring of a proven and successful offensive coordinator. He’s expected to go after Alabama coordinator Lane Kiffin, a good friend and Orgeron’s boss at Southern Cal and Tennessee.
University leaders are confident that they’ll keep defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, with plans to likely promote him and hand him a significant contract boost, sources say. Aranda’s unit is ranked 14th nationally, and it had allowed just 11 touchdowns in 10 games before the 54-39 win at Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night.
Orgeron’s contract will be more economical for LSU (expected to be $3 million-$4 million), allowing the school to pay more than $1.5 million to its coordinators. Aranda signed a three-year contract in January paying him $1.2 million a year, and during the search process for a new head coach, the first-year assistant reciprocated LSU’s interest in him remaining with the program, sources said.
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.
While at Southern Cal, Orgeron was named by Sporting News as the nation’s No. 2 recruiter in 2012. A year earlier, Scout.com named him the National Recruiter of the Year, ESPNU/ESPN The Magazine named him the top recruiter in college football (and third-best in all of collegiate athletics) and Rivals.com ranked him as the second-best recruiter of the previous 10 years (2002-11) in college football.
Orgeron served two stints at Southern Cal, the first as the Trojan’s defensive line coach from 1998 to 2004. He added the title of recruiting coordinator for USC in 2001 and helped the Trojans to top five signing classes for three-straight years from 2002-04. Rivals.com and Sporting News named him the 2004 National Recruiter of the Year.
Orgeron left USC in 2005 to become the head coach at Ole Miss, where he went 10-25 in three years with Rebels from 2005-07. Oregon has a head coaching mark of 16-27 in three-plus years with the Rebels and USC.
Orgeron spent the 2008 season coaching the defensive line for the New Orleans Saints and then joined Tennessee as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator in 2009. He returned to Southern Cal following the 2009 season.