Judge rules in favor of former LSU coach Ed Orgeron in divorce court

Former LSU football coach Ed Orgeron will not owe his ex-wife a share of his LSU contracts for 2020 and 2021 or his termination agreement after a judge ruled in his favor. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes.

Former LSU head coach Ed Orgeron will not owe his former wife, Kelly Orgeron, a share of his LSU contracts for 2020 and 2021 or his termination agreement.

The Court of Appeal of Louisiana ruled in Ed Orgeron’s favor last Friday stating that while he had signed a “binding term sheet” a month before their divorce, it was not an enforceable contract for payment of compensation. His official contract wasn’t signed until after the couple had separated.

The term sheet was then superseded by an official employment contract approved by the LSU Board of Supervisors in April 2020 after the couple’s separation.

Orgeron was LSU’s head coach from 2016 to 2021. In that time, he led the Tigers to an undefeated season and a national championship in 2019. In January 2020, after the national championship win, LSU signed him to a term sheet that would make him on of the five-highest paid coaches in college football. Before bonuses, he was to be paid over $41 million over six years.

The term sheet was reported as a new contract by the media, but it was ruled that the term sheet he signed was only an agreement to agree. The ruling said that means the sheet was “no agreement at all, since either party may avoid it by the mere failure to agree.” 

While the term sheet detailed salary, benefits and methods of termination, it stated that it was “subject to approval by the LSU Board of Supervisors” and that LSU and Orgeron would “negotiate in good faith” to finalize a “long-form Employment Agreement” that would “supersede the terms of this Term Sheet.”

LSU football struggled over the next two seasons and Orgeron reached a termination agreement with the school in October 2021. The agreement said Oregeron would be paid over $16 million over 18 installments. After the season ended, LSU brought in new head coach Brian Kelly from Notre Dame.

Ed and Kelly Orgeron married in 1997 and a judge ordered the separation of their property in April 2020. In Louisiana, it is presumed that all property and assets are owned equally by both spouses.

Judge Mitchell Theriot wrote that the “various forms of income which came into Ed’s possession after the termination of the community regime” would not be under the presumption that both spouses have equal shares of it. Theriot also wrote that the LSU board’s approval “was not given until after the community had been terminated.”

Kelly Orgeron’s attorneys said that LSU’s pay was a “reward” for past accomplishments, but the judge sided with Ed Orgeron’s attorneys who said LSU’s decision to fire Ed Orgeron less than three years after the championship indicated his compensation for 2020 and 2021 were for “future services.”

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Will Nickel

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