News,  Sports

Thank You, Coach O.

Tonight LSU’s head football Coach Ed Orgeron released a statement announcing his parting of ways with LSU. As usual, he’s as honest as the day is long about why he must leave. He just didn’t win enough games over the last two seasons. He writes:

Coach Orgeron and LSU athletic director also held a press conference to announce the news.

Don’t be surprised if you sense a certain ambivalence from LSU fans about Coach Orgeron’s departure. The ambivalence is real because two things are true at the same time. It’s the right decision, and it’s a really sad decision. It’s the right decision not least because of what has happened on the field for the last two seasons, but also because of things that have been happening off the field. It all added up to this inevitable conclusion, and fans have known that for a while. It’s the right decision.

But still, this is also a really sad decision. Football is life in Louisiana. For better or worse, it is a part of the unique culture of the Bayou State. It just matters more. And it was a really big deal when LSU hired a Louisiana native to coach the Tigers. Not only a native but also a bona fide Cajun. It’s like Orgeron was sent to LSU from central casting. It has been a very long time since the fanbase could look at LSU’s coach and say, “he’s one of us.” For that reason, we wanted him to succeed all the more. And we were elated when he did in 2019.

The 2019 season was absolutely magical for LSU football fans. It was arguably the best single season ever by a college football team. Third and seventeen against Texas, Burrow to Jefferson. LSU was an also-ran before that play, and championship destined after. Finally breaking the Alabama curse after 8 long years with the heroics of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who said after the game, “Throw your heart across the line, and your body will follow.” Coach O’s manifest emotion in the post-game interview. The hundreds of fans who showed up at midnight to greet the victors at the Baton Rouge airport and Joe Burrow greeting them. Joe Burrow donning the “Burreaux” jersey at the beginning of the A&M game. Then the Heisman, 15-0, and a national championship. And an epic alpha-dog cigar smoke.

If there were no Coach Orgeron, there would have been no Joe Burrow nor Joe Brady nor a magical 2019 season. No matter what has happened since then, we have to give credit where credit is due. Orgeron put together the team and the staff that pulled off that wonderful season. Never forget that.

If I’m being honest, beating Alabama that year was probably my favorite moment. It was absolute pandemonium in my house when the clock finally ticked zero and the Tigers were on top.

That other voice you hear in the background is my best friend Barry Joslin. He and his kids came over every week to watch the game with my family. We had the best time eating gumbo in the bluegrass and cheering on the Tigers week after week. Best ever. I will never forget it. Coach Orgeron gave us the best season of football we’ve ever had. I will always be thankful for that.

But the fans’ ambivalence is not merely about the 2019 season. It’s also about the fact that Coach Orgeron obviously loves Louisiana and loves LSU. When he says he’s going to coach his heart out the rest of the season, you have to believe him. He means it. He’s going to finish at a full sprint, come what may. All heart.

Thank you, Coach Orgeron. It was quite a run, and we will never forget it.