The LSU Tigers and athletic director Scott Woodward are ushering in a new era of football. Ed Orgeron leaves the program after five seasons as the head coach that ended with a 6-6 campaign in 2021. Orgeron broke through in the 2019 season led by former Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow. Now it is Brian Kelly’s turn to bring a title to the Bayou, something that has eluded him since he joined Notre Dame in 2010.
According to Stewart Mandel’s grades for all 29 FBS hires (subscription required), LSU’s hire of Brian Kelly was among the best in the Power Five.
What Mandel Says…
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
LSU athletic director Scott Woodward desperately wanted to lure Jimbo Fisher to Baton Rouge. Hiring the winningest coach in Notre Dame history was quite the Plan B. Kelly, 60, whose teams made the CFP in 2018 and ’20 and won 10-plus games in six of the last seven seasons, should be able to recruit at a higher level than he could in South Bend. The “minus” is due to concerns about fit. Hopefully he acclimates to the South more naturally than his basketball speech.
The Athletic gave LSU a grade of “A-” for pulling him out of Notre Dame to take over the program that won a national championship three seasons ago. Following the magical 15-0 campaign, the Tigers finished 11-12 in the two seasons after winning the school’s fourth national championship.
Kelly takes over a program with a fertile recruiting landscape in Louisiana with no other Power Five in-state school to challenge them on the recruiting trails. They do have to fight off Alabama, Auburn, Texas, and Texas A&M in recruiting.
The newest Tigers head coach is coming off a decade-long run with the Fighting Irish from 2010 to 2021. Kelly held a record of 92-39 and is the winningest coach in Notre Dame history. He has won over 260 games in his career and looks to bring LSU their fourth national title with four different coaches since 2003.
Kelly’s replacement at Notre Dame received a grade of B+. Kelly initially tried to bring Marcus Freeman and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees with him from South Bend, both chose to stay and Freeman was ultimately named the head coach.