LSU’s Ed Org­eron is AP col­lege foot­ball coach of the year

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - AP Col­lege Foot­ball Writer

By Ralph D. Russo

Ed Org­eron of LSU is The As­so­ci­ated Press Coach of the Year af­ter lead­ing the top-ranked Tigers to a South­east­ern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship and their first Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off ap­pear­ance.

Org­eron re­ceived 33 of 56 first-place votes from Top 25 poll vot­ers and a to­tal of 130 points for the award pre­sented by Re­gions Bank and an­nounced Tues­day.

Bay­lor’s Matt Rhule, who led the Bears to an 11-2 record and an ap­pear­ance in the Big 12 cham­pi­onship game, fin­ished sec­ond with 14 first-place votes (86 points). Ohio State’s Ryan Day was third with five­first-place votes (45 points) and Min­nesota’s P.J. Fleck was fourth with three first­place votes (40 points).

Org­eron is the third dif­fer­ent LSU coach to win the award since it was es­tab­lished in 1998, join­ing Nick Sa­ban in 2003 and Les Miles in 2011. Sa­ban and Miles both led their teams to the BCS cham­pi­onship game, with Sa­ban win­ning and Miles los­ing.

Org­eron and the Tigers will face No. 4 Oklahoma in the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off semi­fi­nals on Dec. 28 at the Peach Bowl in At­lanta.

This is Org­eron’s third full sea­son as LSU coach and the Tigers’ record has im­proved each year. He was el­e­vated to in­terim coach dur­ing the 2016 sea­son af­ter Miles was fired and even­tu­ally landed his dream job.

The Louisiana na­tive is 38-9 at LSU with a 23-7 record in the SEC. The 58-year-old Org­eron was a long­time as­sis­tant coach, part of na­tional cham­pi­onship staffs with Mi­ami in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, and with South­ern Cal­i­for­nia in the early 2000s. Along the way, he gained a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the best re­cruiters and de­fen­sive line coaches in the na­tion.

His first stint as a head coach was in the SEC at Mis­sis­sippi. That lasted only three sea­sons and 10 vic­to­ries. He was in­terim head coach at USC in 2013, go­ing 6-2 but it wasn’t enough to keep the job.

Org­eron landed at LSU as an as­sis­tant to Miles in 2015. He faced some skep­ti­cism when he was first given the job by then-ath­letic di­rec­tor Joe All­eva, but over three years he has proved to be a per­fect fit. A week af­ter his team landed the top seed in the play­off, he spent the week­end watch­ing his quar­ter­back, Joe Bur­row, win the Heis­man Tro­phy.

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