Ed Orgeron named interim coach
By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Les Miles and Cam Cameron have coached their final game at LSU.
In the wake of LSU’s 18-13 loss at Auburn Saturday night, LSU officials have fired the head coach and offensive coordinator, the school announced Sunday afternoon. Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron has been named interim coach.
“Decisions like this are never easy ones to make,” LSU AD Joe Alleva said through an official release. “Coach Miles has done a tremendous job here and he’s been a great ambassador for our University, which makes this even more difficult.
“However, it’s apparent in evaluating the program through the first month of the season that a change has to be made. Our commitment to excellence and competing at the highest level is unwavering, and our goals for the remainder of this season haven’t changed. We have an obligation to our student-athletes to put them in the best position to have success on the football field each week and we have great confidence that coach Orgeron will do just that.”
Players received a mass text message early Sunday afternoon alerting them to a 5 p.m. team meeting at the Football Ops Building. There Miles addresses his team as head coach one more time, players said, offering a heartfelt Farwell before yielding the floor to his interim successor.
“It was really just him telling us goodbye,” junior safety Jamal Adams said. “He told us to keep fighting. That he loved us. It was a real sad moment.”
All five players who were made available to the media professed shock at the news.
Adams found out about Miles’ firing via social media. Tre’Davious White awoke from a nap to a cell phone chocked full of text messages and missed calls. Travin Dural said he found out during a local news break while watching an NFL game.
“I’m still surprised,” Dural said. “Wasn’t expecting this at all. Coach Miles is a great coach. He’s done a lot of great things for this program. I was expecting to come in and talk about the things we were going to change about the offense. Different things we were going to do coming up in the next week. But I wasn’t expecting all of this.”
Miles was nearly fired last November, after the program lost three straight games for the first time since 1999. But his job was spared at the last hour due to an intervention by LSU president F. King Alexander, who was concerned about the political ramifications of paying out Miles’ then-$15 million buyout amid a higher education funding crisis.
Saturday’s loss at Auburn, which was nearly an LSU win after a last-second touchdown was overturned, brought LSU to 2-2 on the season and gave Miles the worst start of his tenure. It’s the first time LSU has lost two games before October since 2000.
“He put everything he had into this program and he did some great things with this program,” senior center Ethan Pocic said. “I love Coach Miles. I’m going to miss him. But at the end of the day it’s a business.”
Per Miles’ contract, LSU will owe him a $12.9 million, less any money has already been paid this calendar year and any money he makes at his next job.
Miles has compiled a 114-34 record in his time as LSU’s head coach, the highest winning percentage in school history. His 64 wins in SEC games rank second in school history behind Charles McClendon.
Cameron received a new contract in the offseason and was in his fourth year as LSU’s offensive coordinator. The Tigers rank 111th in total offense and 110th in scoring offense through the season’s first four games.
“That’s very shocking too,” Dural said of Cameron’s dismissal. “He put in a lot of things this week. We had a great week of preparation. He called a great game. We still had a chance to win, so that’s something that was on my mind on my way over here. I’m shocked about both of them.”
Tight ends coach Steve Ensminger will take over for Cameron as Orgeron’s offensive coordinator, per sources. Wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig will take over for Orgeron as recruiting coordinator and Pete Jenkins will return to the program as defensive line coach, Oregron’s old role. Assistant director of operations Dean Dingman has also been fired, a source confirmed.
Alleva will officially introduce Orgeron as interim head coach at LSU’s regular Monday press luncheon, set for 12:30 p.m.