Ed Orgeron and LSU will part ways after the 2021 season. Who are 5 possible candidates to take over the job?
Ed Orgeron to leave LSU after the season. Good luck, new guy – just recreate the 2019 magic.
There was just no way to possibly follow up the mega-platinum hit album that took America by storm.
Ed Orgeron has always been a phenomenal recruiter and peerless line coach, and he got the job done at LSU. In a division with the Alabama machine never, ever slowing down, and in a conference that’s never, ever slowing down, LSU was able to hold its own.
It always gets lost among the expectations, but you can be phenomenal in the SEC and still not win much of anything. LSU was great under Orgeron, building up over his first three seasons before the epic 15-0 2019 season that ranks among the greatest of all-time.
But the program got hit with the perfect punch.
The 2019 team and coaching staff were gutted, the covid year kicked in and 2020 was rough in every way possible, and 2021 was supposed to be the real rebuilding year.
Everyone still seems tired after the 2019 season, and there were other issues including … uhhhhhh …
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) October 17, 2021
It’s been an emotional and intense going-to-be six seasons, Orgeron will always be a legend and made man around the program, and with the impending doom coming – at Ole Miss, at Alabama, Arkansas, Texas A&M, to go along with a date against ULM – the two sides cut to the chase.
So what’s next? Where does LSU go from here?
The job is one of the biggest and most prestigious in all of football, but 1) it’ll take a guy who has to deal with a fan base that’s old enough to remember 2019, 2) Alabama isn’t going away, 3) the rest of the SEC isn’t going away, and 4) 10-2 isn’t good enough.
So what kind of a powerhouse head coach could possibly handle the gig? Here are five – and more – coaches who should at least get an exploratory phone call from LSU athletic director Scott Woodward.
Let’s start with three big names that will be floated out there, but won’t happen …
5A. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M head coach
Why Jimbo Fisher will be the next head coach at LSU: He’s got the national championship win on the top line of the resumé. He’s one of the few head coaches in college football who got the trophy in the case and is also still at the top of his game, even if Texas A&M has been a bit of a disappointment. He’s the guy who punches his SEC weight with the rest of the league.
Why Jimbo Fisher won’t be the next head coach at LSU: Call this all a negotiating ploy to make an already insanely great deal even better. However, A&M is locked in to Fisher’s massive contract to the tune of close to $100 million after an extension. He’s very, very pricey, even for LSU.
5B. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss head coach
Why Lane Kiffin will be the next head coach at LSU: The guy wins. He was underappreciated at USC – he got the team just as it was getting hit with the Reggie Bush sanctions – and he quickly made Ole Miss a thing. He’s a brilliant offensive coach. Period.
Why he won’t be the next head coach at LSU: He’s Lane Kiffin. Period.
Again, Fisher and Kiffin will be thrown out there – because big-time programs like it when everyone thinks they can go get anyone they want. That also goes for …
5C. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State head coach
Why Mike Gundy will be the next head coach at LSU: The move of Les Miles from Oklahoma State to LSU several years ago worked out just fine for a long time – at least on the field.
Things have been way-too-quiet about Gundy and moving from his alma mater, but he’s one of the few coaches out there who’s been able to survive and thrive for a long, long time despite his school being the clear No. 2 to the the monster rival program.
The expectations at Oklahoma State are a bit different. Of course the program wants to win national titles, but it’s more realistically about being very good every year, getting to good bowl games, and being in the Big 12 Championship chase on a consistent basis.
He’s one of those coaches who has been very good where he’s at, but if he had the elite program recruiting machine to work with, look out.
Why Mike Gundy won’t be the next head coach at LSU: If he was going to leave Oklahoma State, he would’ve left Oklahoma State by now. There’s also the problem of winning – he does it, but 2011 was the one Big 12 Championship and his Cowboys haven’t finished in the league’s top two since 2013.
And then there’s the issue of being Mike Gundy. He can be abrasive, he’s in his 17th year and hasn’t really been a candidate for other places, and there’s the too-recent issue with the One America News t-shirt controversy.
But in the Just Means More world of the SEC, the guy is 6-0 this year with a very, very solid team.
It’s not going to be Gundy.