It’s Time to Say Goodbye: Ed Orgeron is Set to Leave LSU at the End of the Season

In sports, we often see examples of former players coming back to their old sidelines as managers, and being welcomed home like the prodigal son. However, it does not always work out quite as well as people hope. Sometimes it feels like the job was only awarded due to previous connections with the team, as opposed to it being a sensible or logical decision.

Back in 2019 in the English Premier League, Chelsea appointed Frank Lampard as their new manager. Lampard was a legend for the club in his playing days, winning just about every trophy there was to be won. Fans were elated when it was announced he would be taking charge of their club, but it soon began to fall apart, as it was clear he wasn’t up to the task. By January 2021, Lampard had been relieved of his duties.

Welcoming old players into Head coaching positions also occurs in college football, as we can see at Louisiana State University, and their team the LSU Tigers. Ed Orgeron was born and raised in Louisiana and attended LSU in the late 1970s. He briefly played for the Tigers as a defensive lineman, before transferring away after his freshman year. Clearly, his love for the Tigers never faded, as he was apparently overjoyed when he agreed to take the LSU Head coach job in 2016. Apparently, he was loudly singing out of his truck on his way to meet the athletic director Joe Alleva, as he couldn’t wait to get started.

Unfortunately, things have turned sour, and it was announced earlier this week that Orgeron would be stepping down from his role at the end of the season. How did this situation unfold you might be asking? Let’s take a look into the highs and lows of the man from the Bayou’s time in charge of the Tigers.

The road to LSU

Before becoming Head coach of the Tigers, Orgeron has held numerous positions in college football, with teams such as the Miami Hurricanes, the Syracuse Orange and the Tennessee Volunteers. He even briefly spent some time coaching in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints as a defensive line coach, however that only lasted a year.

One of his most notable posts was as Head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels between 2005 and 2007. Ole Miss had a great reputation, having won national and conference titles during the 1960s. However, Orgeron has a torrid time whilst their Head coach, coming near the bottom of the rankings in offensive metrics on several occasions. The lowest point came at the end, where Ole Miss blew a 14-point lead against their big rivals Mississippi State in the season finale. At this point, Orgeron was fired.

The rapid rise to success at LSU

Some fans were concerned when Orgeron was appointed as the Tigers’ Head Coach, but soon they were converted into believers. Over his first few seasons, their results steadily began to improve, and by 2018 they were ranked 6th in the AP Top 25, with Orgeron reaching 7th position in the coaches poll.

It all went nuclear in 2019 when the Tigers went undefeated through the regular season, with one of the standout results being a 46-41 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide. They soon became one of the favorite college football picks for fans looking for odds on their sports betting apps, as they appeared unstoppable. They then defeated the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game, which they won 92-82.

The season culminated in the national championship, where they took on the defending champions the Clemson Tigers, who were also undefeated. It matted little to Orgeron and LSU, as they ran out 42-25 winners, finishing the season with a perfect 15-0. Orgeron was named the 2019 AP College Football Coach of the Year, and it seemed like the beginning of a dynasty.

How quickly things can change

The domination that was expected did not follow, as in 2020 things began to unravel. The season was of course cut shot by the COVID-19 pandemic, but even so, the Tigers struggled to replicate their form. They played with 3 different starting quarterbacks during the season, which wouldn’t have helped with consistency. They ended the season with a record of 5-5.

There was then stories about Orgeron approaching women in an unbecoming manner (he was divorced from his wife of 23 years following the national championship) then there was the Title IX investigation that claimed Orgeron was informed that one of his players had sexually harassed a woman, but the coach had not taken any action. Slowly, both on and off the pitch, it was all unravelling quickly.

Fast forward to this season, and the Tigers are struggling again, with a 4-3 overall record. It was decided that Orgeron will see out the season, then step aside. It is a sad end for a man and a team that achieved such greatness together, but as the old saying goes, nothing lasts forever.