LSU Football: Former USC AD straight up lied to Ed Orgeron

LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron was straight up lied to by former USC athletic director Pat Haden.

By now everyone knows the story of LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron.

Coach O bombed as the head coach at Ole Miss, before climbing his way back up the coaching ranks and eventually leading USC to a 6-2 record as the Trojans’ interim head coach in 2013 (after Lane Kiffin was fired).

Most folks felt like Orgeron was a slam dunk to become USC’s new head coach.

In fact, former USC athletic director Pat Haden even told Orgeron that he’d be the Trojans’ next head coach.

That turned out to be a lie.

USC’s loss was LSU football’s gain

In Orgeron’s new book (which was co-authored by The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman), he goes into detail about what it was like in his final days as USC’s interim head coach.

Coach O explains how Haden promised him the head coaching gig at USC. Orgeron even signed a $3 million contract to become the Trojans’ next head coach (though Haden didn’t sign the contract).

According to Orgeron (in an excerpt from the book, via Faith Drive Athlete) Haden told him the hiring was a “formality” and it would happen after USC’s regular-season finale against UCLA.

Unfortunately for Coach O, the Trojans lost 35-14 to UCLA.

Haden had promised to call Orgeron on Sunday.

The call never came.

Orgeron knew what it meant. He eventually heard from someone else that USC was hiring Steve Sarkisian as the program’s new head coach.

Unsurprisingly, Coach O was furious. He met with Haden on Monday and made it clear he thought he would’ve been the better hire.

Orgeron was right.

Sarkisian was relieved of his duties in 2015 (while dealing with some personal issues).

Orgeron joined Les Miles’ staff at LSU, became the interim head coach in 2016, got the job on a full-time basis, and led the Tigers to a perfect 15-0 season in 2019.

I’m sure Orgeron wouldn’t change a thing about how it all turned out.

But it’s still incredibly disheartening to hear how Haden lied to Orgeron and led him on about the USC job.

But in the end, USC’s loss was LSU’s gain.