5 LSU Coaching Candidates: Why/Why Not
Now that the Les Miles era has come to an end at LSU, it's time to take a look a five early candidates, and why they may, or may not become the Tigers' next head coach:
Why Jimbo Fisher? Well, from LSU's standpoint, why not? Fisher was at LSU, as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, from 2000-2006, under both Nick Saban and Les Miles, so he's familiar with the area, and understands the SEC. More importantly, Fisher has been the head coach at Florida St. since 2010, and has been tremendously successful, going 71-15, and winning the 2014 National Championship. He's the guy that LSU wants.
Why not Jimbo Fisher? Word is that Fisher loves Baton Rouge, but why would he want to leave FSU for LSU to butt heads against Nick Saban, Alabama, and the rest of the SEC? It's not to win, or for more prestige, as has already won a national title at FSU. It's not for money, as he already makes in excess of $5 million a year. Miles, along with Gene Chizik, who both won national titles by the way, Mark Richt, and Will Muschamp have all lost SEC jobs trying to go up against Alabama and the rest of the SEC, while Gus Malzahn, and Dan Mullen have seen their coaching stars shine less brighter. Sure, the ACC is strong this year, with FSU going up against Clemson and Louisville. But Fisher has won a National Championship at FSU, so he can have a couple of down seasons and be forgiven. That wouldn't be the case at LSU. Plus, when has a coach that has won a national title ever left that school for another? It just doesn't happen.
Why Tom Herman: Herman, a former offensive coordinator at Ohio St. and current head coach at Houston, has turned the Cougars into a national power, going 17-1 during his time there. He has the brightest shining star out there and would be a slam dunk hire. Houston has had a lot of success over the last decade, under the direction of Art Briles, Kevin Sumlin, and Herman, but you could see him making the jump from Houston to LSU, and from the American Athletic Conference to the SEC. That would make perfect sense.
Why not Tom Herman: Herman makes $3 million a year at Houston, and will get a $2.5 million raise if the Cougars join the Big XII. Plus, you would think that if LSU comes after Herman, that Houston would offer more to keep him, especially if they play in a major bowl. See, money is not as big a deal to coaches as it once was. Most head coaches get paid well, so although LSU has a ton of money, Herman may not leave Houston strictly for cash, especially if the Cougars join the Big XII.
Why Lane Kiffin: The en vogue thing to do in the SEC is to hire a Saban disciple as a head coach to try to slay the dragon, just like Georgia did with the hiring of Kirby Smart. Kiffin is still young, knows the league, is offensive-minded, and has major coaching experience, coaching Tennessee, USC, and the Oakland Raiders.
Why not Lane Kiffin: There's a reason Kiffin is the offensive coordinator at Alabama right now, and not a head coach somewhere; he went 5-15 with the Raiders, 7-6 with Tennessee, and 10-8 over his last two years at USC, including a 4-7 record over his last 11 games. In fairness to Kiffin, the NCAA sanctions that were handed down to USC for things that happened prior to him taking over obviously put him, and the program, behind the 8-ball.
Why Ed Orgeron: Orgeron, the interim head coach right now at LSU, likely won't be the head coach in 2017, but there is at least an outside shot. He's a great recruiter, is beloved by his players, and popular with fans. Orgeron is a Louisiana native, who has head coaching experience in the SEC, and went 6-2 as the interim head coach at USC in 2013. Looking back, USC would maybe have been wise to give him a shot. Again, him getting the job on a fulltime basis seems unlikely, but if he guides the Tigers to a 6-2 record the rest of the way, and maybe a win in a bowl game, he would definitely have helped his case.
Why not Ed Orgeron: Orgeron went 10-25 in three seasons as the head coach of Ole Miss, while going 3-21 against the rest of the SEC.
Why Kyle Wittingham: Wittingham, the head coach of Utah since 2005, has guided the Utes to an overall record of 99-46, including four seasons with at least 10 victories, with the highlight being an undefeated a 13-0 2008 campaign. Wittingham may be very happy where he's at, but he deserves consideration for any job opening.
Why not Kyle Wittingham: Wittingham, who has been at Utah, in some capacity, since 1994, has no ties to the SEC, is 56, and may not qualify as a "splash hire" by LSU fans.
Understand, there will be lots of other names associated with the LSU opening. Coaches like Mike Gundy (Oklahoma St.), Bryan Harsin (Boise St.), P.J. Fleck (Western Michigan), and David Shaw (Stanford) will all be mentioned. So the speculation has only just begun.