BATON ROUGE, La. – At the time, LSU’s bowl chances seemed small and none, Ed Orgeron described blue skies and white beaches as the ideal setting for his last game as coach of the Tigers.
Orgeron is on his way to the beach with his girlfriend, but not in any official capacity.
“I’m packing to go to Destin,” Orgeron said. “I’m there tomorrow.”
Orgeron will not coach LSU in a bowl match, he announced after Saturday’s 27-24 victory over No. 14 Texas A&M in Death Valley. The Tigers (6-6, 3-5 SEC) took the lead over the Aggies (8-4, 4-4) with 20 seconds left to achieve bowl eligibility.
The decision was mutual from Orgeron, Sports Director Scott Wodward and the LSU administration.
“I told the guys I wish them luck,” Orgeron said. “I will not sit here and train when another guy comes to be the head coach this week or the week after. I will not do that.
“This is my team, and as soon as they got a new head coach, I would go.”
Offensive line coach Brad Davis will be LSU’s interim coach for the bowl game. Davis, a native of Baton Rouge, was hired away from Arkansas in June.
“I hope they go to a great bowl,” Orgeron said. “I know Brad Davis will do a fantastic job and no matter who the new coach is, I wish them all the best in the world. I will always be an LSU Tiger fan.”
Orgeron told LSU players about his departure in the locker room after the match. He joined them in the northern end zone one last time for alma mater and enjoyed his last moments on the field at Tiger Stadium.
PLAYOFF LANDSCAPE: Where the field stands after week 13
WINNERS AND LOSERS: Best and worst in week 13 of college football
“It was emotional because we know day in and day out, Coach O gave everything for us,” linebacker Damone Clark said. “Coach O treated us like his own kids and it’s hard to see anyone walk away, but that’s the nature of the business and we wish him the best of luck.”
Orgeron leaves LSU with a record of 51-20 in six seasons. The Tigers finished 15-0 and won a national championship in 2019, but went back to 11-11 over the past two seasons.
LSU began negotiating a separation deal with Orgeron after a 42-21 loss in Kentucky on October 9th. Orgeron is leaving with a buyout of $ 16.9 million, which LSU will pay in installments until 2025.
“We did what we had to do at LSU,” Orgeron said. “We won a championship but had two bad seasons and I completely agreed when Scott (Woodward) came to me after Kentucky.”
Since the completion of Orgeron’s exit, LSU finished 2-3 over the last month. The Tigers ended the regular season with victories over Louisiana-Monroe and Texas A&M.
After Texas A&M with four points, LSU quarterback Max Johnson threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jaray Jenkins to get the clear signal. Clark recorded back-to-back sacks on the final two games of the game.
“Coach O has been the same from week 1 when I first came here for any week,” offensive tackle Austin Deculus said. “He’s done a great job and I’ll definitely miss him.”
Orgeron pumped his chest on the way to the locker room after the fight, a tribute to his late father, Ed “BeBe” Orgeron Sr. At his last press conference, Orgeron thanked the media for treating him fairly during his time at LSU.
“If you come to Destin, we have a little sunscreen for you,” Orgeron said.
Orgeron offered one last “Go Tigers,” and then turned to his girlfriend as he left the podium.
“Come on honey, let’s go,” said Orgeron. “See you later.”
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Ed Orgeron says he will not coach LSU in bowl games