Possible landing spots for Ed Orgeron this offseason
Although Orgeron is one of the 16 finalists for The Maxwell Football Club's annual Coach of the Year Award, it's likely that he won't be losing the interim tag at season's end—and will be dumped by the new staff.
That doesn't mean that Orgeron won't be given a head coaching opportunity elsewhere, though. There are plenty of prospective programs that are in desperate need of his fiery coaching style and passion for the game in hopes of a quick turnaround.
Here are eight potential landing spots for Orgeron, just in case the Trojans go their separate ways.
1. Louisiana-at-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
A bit of a stretch here, but man would it make sense. Current coach Mark Hudspeth has done an incredible job with ULL in his three seasons, leading the Ragin' Cajuns to what looks to be three straight nine-win seasons and bowl appearances (two wins thus far). The chances of him staying put in Lafayette are very unlikely, which would leave athletic director Scott Farmer with an unwanted vacancy. This is probably Orgeron's best fit in terms of comfortability. A Louisiana native, Orgeron played for Northwestern State, was a graduate assistant for McNeese State, coached linebackers at Nicholls State and was a d-line coach for the New Orleans Saints for a year. It would be a homecoming for Orgeron and a good plug-and-fit for ULL.
2. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Norm Chow is done after what looks to be an 0-12 season, and the Rainbow Warriors need someone thatcan bring in some talent. In comes Orgeron, who has spent 10 years recruiting near the Pacific Ocean. Athletic director Ben Jay would have to give up a pretty penny in order to get a deal done (he's only paying Chow $700,000 a year), and patience would need to be a virtue to allow some time to build a program that is 9-26 since 2011.
3. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
Southern Miss has arguably been the worst team in the FBS for the last two seasons, losing 22 straight games since Larry Fedora's departure in 2011. It just hired Todd Monken during the offseason, but no signs point to any progress being made. Orgeron coached Ole Miss from 2005-07 and knows the recruiting pipeline, so there should definitely be some mutual interest.
4. Alabama-Birmingham Blazers
This isn't a sexy choice for anyone, but Orgeron isn't going to get a USC-type of deal—not until he can prove to the world that he can get things down with his own program and players. Garrick McGee is 5-17 in two years with UAB, which isn't awful considering the team's all-time record of 107-128-2, but the Blazers have lost six of seven by an average of 26.2 points and will probably want to move in a different direction.
5. Florida International Golden Panthers
Yeah, FIU really screwed up by firing Mario Cristobal and replacing him with Ron Turner. And I think it's beginning to realize that. The Golden Panthers can't offer Orgeron job security, money or decent players, but they can give him the opportunity to rebuild a very needy program to boost his resume (and a nice tan).
6. Virginia Cavaliers
Despite a Top-30 recruiting class for three straight years, Virginia coach Mike London has failed to translate any talent onto the field. The Cavaliers are 18-29 in four years with him at the helm and 6-16 since the start of 2012. Orgeron has no connection here other than the fact that he'd be looking for a job and Virginia would be more-than-happy to give one to him (at least I think so).
7. West Virginia Mountaineers
It's not set in stone that Dana Holgorsen will be fired at season's end, but even he seems fed up with Morgantown. West Virginia is 11-12 since joining the Big 12, with all losses coming in conference play. It will probably look to someone other than Holgorsen to guide it into relevancy now that it's no longer in the Big East, where his whacky systems worked. I'm not so sure that Orgeron's defensive mind is a fit for the Big 12 or the Mountaineers (who are putrid in this area), but WVU presents a big-stage opportunity and he'll accept the best offer.
8. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Skip Holtz was far from impressive during his tenure at South Florida and has lived up to expectations in his first year with Louisiana Tech, starting 4-6 with a team that had finished 9-3 in 2012 with Sonny Dykes. If he doesn't beat Tulsa and UTSA to become bowl eligible, his leash could be very short, especially if Orgeron is on the market (remember, he IS a Louisiana native and would make sense here).
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