LSU introduces Kevin Steele, Ed Orgeron

LSU officially introduced Wednesday new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron.

LSU officially introduced Wednesday two new members of the defensive coaching staff.

Kevin Steele, formerly the Alabama linebacker coach, replaces John Chavis as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator. Ed Orgeron, who last served as an interim head coach at USC, joins LSU as the defensive line coach. Both made their first public appearance as LSU coaches during a Wednesday press conference.

“Both of these men will have great impact on our defense,” said LSU coach Les Miles. “There’s much more energy in this room. Both guys will go out and represent LSU extremely well.”

Steele steps in for a man he considers a close friend. He and Chavis grew up together in Dillon, S.C., and went on to play and coach for Tennessee. Steele’s spent the last two seasons with the Crimson Tide, first as a director of player personnel then as the linebacker coach in 2014.

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Steele did say that he spoke with Chavis for advice on whether to take the job. Steele said Chief’s response was simple — “do it.”

“This is an amazing opportunity,” Steele said. “I firmly believe that LSU football is and always has been something that says relentless pursuit, great effort and a dominating, attacking style of defense. That’s just what LSU football was built on.”

Steele’s familiarity with the LSU program was something Miles cited as a reason he hired him. He’s served as the defensive coordinator at both Alabama (2007) and Clemson (2009-12). Prior to that he also had a four-year stint in the NFL and was a head coach for Baylor (1999-2002).

Steele’s son, Gordon, spent three seasons as a graduate assistant with the LSU program. He said that after coaching games for Clemson, he would fly down to Baton Rouge to meet his family and watch Gordon coach the Tigers.

Steele was even set to join the LSU coaching staff after being fired from Clemson in early 2012. But problems with the buyout prevented that from happening.

Now he’s got that opportunity.

“I never really dreamed that I’d be working here,” Steele said. “But the Good Lord’s got a sense of humor too.”

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It’s a homecoming for Orgeron. A native of Larose, he went to South Lafourhce High School before attending LSU for one semester. He would later enroll at Northwestern State, where he graduated from and began coaching in 1984.

Orgeron said he’s often crossed the Mississippi River Bridge, staring at Tiger Stadium in the distance with dreams of coaching in it one day.

“I feel like I’m at home,” Orgeron said. “What a great tradition. I can’t wait to be in that stadium and represent the state of Louisiana.”

Orgeron spent 2014 out of coaching, watching college football games with his family in Mandeville. He said he watched every one of LSU’s, cheering on the Tigers every snap.

“Especially when they beat Ole Miss,” Orgeron joked.

Orgeron was the head coach of the Rebels from 2005 until he was fired after the 2007 season. From there he coached the defensive line for the New Orleans Saints in 2008. He held the title of DL coach and recruiting coordinator at Tennessee in 2009.

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He went out west in 2010 and spent three seasons with the same position at USC. He was eventually elevated to interim head coach after Lane Kiffin’s firing in the 2013 season. He was not retained at the end of the year though, and didn’t land a new job for 2014.

Orgeron waited patiently though, and the opportunity presented itself for him to coach in his home state.

“It’s a place I always wanted to coach,” Orgeron said. “You grow up in Louisiana watching LSU. It’s just a tremendous place to play. I wanted to go test my skills around the country, but I knew that when I got older, I’d want to come back home.”

Miles hopes that the addition of these two coaches will provide a jolt to an LSU program looking to get back to the top.

“To bring on guys that have great enthusiasm and energy, it’s represented in how they’ll coach,” Miles said. “If you get a leader as an assistant coach, it's always better. He does more than his job. He just affects the room.”


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