Fresh off the team's first national championship in more than a decade, LSU is making sure its coach will remain with the program for the foreseeable future. The Tigers and coach Ed Orgeron have agreed to a six-year extension that will exceed $42 million in total compensation, the school announced on Friday.
Since taking over as interim coach at LSU in 2016, Orgeron has compiled a 40-9 (23-7 SEC) record. This year, he led the Tigers to a dominant 15-0 season that culminated in the College Football Playoff National Championship. LSU has also gone 11-1 in its last 12 games against top 10-ranked opponents, including 7-0 in 2019 with three consecutive such wins to end the season.
"Coach O has set a new standard at LSU," LSU AD Scott Woodward said in a statement. "He has proven that he is not only a championship coach, but also a leader of a program committed to doing things the right way. He has represented our institution and our state with great pride, on and off the field of play. He is well-deserving of this new contract, which should make clear our commitment to Coach O and the direction of our football program."
All of which feels like an incredible thing to both type and read if you consider where LSU was two years ago. The Tigers were coming off a 9-4 season during Orgeron's first campaign in 2017, but those four losses included setbacks like a 30-point loss to Mississippi State and a home loss to Troy. Of LSU's nine wins that season, only two came against teams that finished with a winning record. The 2018 season brought quarterback Joe Burrow and significant improvement as the Tigers finished 10-3 with big wins, like a 20-point home win against Georgia. Still, it also included a 29-0 loss against Alabama, LSU's eighth straight defeat against the rival Crimson Tide, highlighting the vast gap between where LSU was and where it wanted to be.
"I'm very appreciative of Scott Woodward, the LSU Board of Supervisors and the state of Louisiana," Orgeron said. "I'm happy to represent LSU and this great state. My family and I are very grateful, and I look forward to working as hard as possible to continue to win championships at LSU."
That's a gap LSU closed quickly in 2019 thanks in large part to Orgeron's ability to not only recognize his program's shortcomings but make the necessary changes to fix them.
Oddly enough, the success of LSU's 2019 season could make the 2020 campaign even more interesting. The team will be facing a significant rebuild. Orgeron has lost Burrow (the Heisman Trophy winner), wunderkind passing game coordinator Joe Brady and standout defensive coordinator Dave Aranda since winning the national title along with a bevy of other starters. Odds are that LSU will not enter the 2020 season as the favorites within their own division, let alone in the SEC or national title picture.
Of course, Orgeron's already defied the odds once, and now he'll have a chance to do so again. This time with a bit more financial security.