Ex-LSU AD Joe Alleva claims he didn't want Jimbo Fisher, chose Ed Orgeron over Tom Herman
Alleva's time as LSU's athletic director came to an end last year
Joe Alleva resigned as the athletic director at LSU in April 2019, but his legacy lives on. It was Alleva who was at the helm as LSU's athletic department navigated through the rocky waters of the end of the Les Miles era, flirtation with then-Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher and then-Houston coach Tom Herman. In the end, the Tigers came out on top. They'll walk into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday night against third-ranked Clemson with the No. 1 ranking attached to their name and a national title within their reach.
According to Alleva, it was exactly the way he planned it.
Miles had nearly worn out his welcome at the end of the 2015 season and rumors swirled that Fisher was on his way to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But the Tigers topped Texas A&M at the end of the regular season and players carried Miles off the field, which, according to Alleva, confirmed his thoughts on what should be done moving forward.
"I still have a lot of friends in the ACC," Alleva told The Advocate. "I talked to them, and after that I didn't want any part of Jimbo. I would never have hired Jimbo. He was never on my radar. Now, fans and some people in the department wanted him, but I never wanted him. I could have made a change (at the end of the 2015 season). I recommended not to. Because I would have been forced to hire Jimbo. I would rather have had Les. But if I didn't hire him, the outcry would have been ridiculous. So we had that meeting during the game, and I made the recommendation to keep [Miles]."
Miles was fired four games into the 2016 season. One year after the Fisher-LSU marriage never materialized, Alleva moved on to flirting with Herman, who was also in the mix for the vacant job at Texas. During the week of final game of the regular season -- again against Texas A&M -- rumors swirled that an LSU-Herman marriage was imminent, even though Orgeron guided the Tigers to a successful season after taking over for Miles in late September. Herman chose Texas -- and a $6.75 million annual paycheck -- over LSU, Alleva hired Orgeron full time and the rest is history.
"He would have come," Alleva said about his flirtation with Herman. "I didn't want to pay him what it would have taken. But I think we could have gotten him."
Alleva told Sports Illustrated in September that, much like the year before, he didn't really want Herman but felt pressure to pursue the "hot name," which, at the time, was Herman's.
Do you believe Alleva, or is he just trying to save face and take a little credit for LSU's rise to national prominence after years of futility under his watch? That remains to be seen. But decisions that were made -- either by Alleva or others -- under Alleva's final years as AD at LSU laid the foundation for this season's title run and whatever happens under Orgeron's watch in the future.
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