Ed Orgeron will be elevated from beloved interim to LSU’s permanent head coach at a news conference Saturday afternoon, according to reports from The (Baton Rouge) Advocate and FootballScoop.com.
The decision to hire Orgeron represents a stunning turn of events for a program that fired Les Miles one-third of the way through his 12th season at LSU with the hopes of landing a big-name coach that could compete with Alabama’s Nick Saban.
Instead, LSU has given the job to a gregarious Cajun who it previously employed as its defensive line coach and went 10-25 as a head coach during three dysfunctional seasons at Ole Miss between 2005-07.
Though there was always a chance Orgeron could earn the job once he became the interim coach, it was widely believed he needed to beat Alabama or at least run the table otherwise. Instead, he went 5-2 with losses to Alabama and Florida but beat Texas A&M in the season finale 54-39 to chants of “Keep Coach O!” in the locker room.
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For Orgeron personally, this represents an incredible triumph after his Ole Miss flameout and similar scenario at Southern Cal, where he was bitterly disappointed not to be named head coach after going 6-2 as the interim following Lane Kiffin’s firing.
It’s unclear what it means for LSU, which initially had its sights set on top-level coaches like Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher but had narrowed its focus to Houston’s Tom Herman by the weekend.
When it became clear Herman was more likely headed to Texas, LSU settled on Orgeron with the high likelihood that much of the current staff will remain in place.