The most controversial topics in LSU history
1. Saban leaves LSU/arrives
While it is one of the most recent controversies, it may also go down as the most bitter in the history of LSU football. Fans were nuts about Nick Saban when he led LSU to 48 victories, two SEC championships and a national title in his five-year stay at LSU. They were upset when he bid farewell for the NFL's Miami Dolphins following the 2004 season. Even when Les Miles went 22-4 in his first two seasons as LSU's new coach, fans still longed for Saban. However, that all changed when Saban returned to college football, most notably the SEC Western Division, as the new head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Now and forever, Saban's return will have LSU fans seeing red.
2. 2003 LSU & USC national championship debate – BCS vs. AP
One thing is for certain: LSU did
everything it was supposed to do to reach the 2003 BCS National Championship
Game. The only problem – the BCS got it wrong. Instead of sending Pac-10
champion USC to the Sugar Bowl to meet LSU, the BCS selected
3. 1970 Cotton Bowl fiasco
Just how costly was LSU's 26-23
loss to Ole Miss in 1969? Well, 9-1 LSU was passed over by the Cotton Bowl,
which took 8-1-1 Notre Dame, who lost to eventual national champion
4. Officiating at
There always seems to be some sort
of controversy surrounding the LSU-Auburn game. From earthquakes, to cigars, to
interceptions, all the way to a burning barn, something always stands out.
Lately, it's been the officiating – or lack thereof.
5. Dietzel leaves LSU,
comes back as
"I'll never leave LSU," said coach
Paul Dietzel following the Tigers' 1958 national title. But three years later,
Dietzel packed his bags for Army following the 1961 season, and LSU fans were
bitter. Things didn't work out for Dietzel at Army, and he landed at
6. Biff Jones and Huey Long
It was no secret that former
Louisiana Governor Huey Long loved his LSU Tigers. He attended every game,
traveled with the team, and even led the band in parades. In the early 1930s, it
was also apparent Long didn't have much love for coach Biff Jones. Jones was the
coach at LSU for three seasons, from 1932-34. In those three years, Jones
compiled a 20-5-6 record, which, however, did not please Long. At halftime of
the 1934 season finale, LSU was losing to
7. Bo Rein's death
LSU had found the perfect guy to
replace longtime coach Charles McClendon.
8. Bob Brodhead
No doubt Bob Brodhead left his mark on LSU. Brodhead hired some of the best coaches in LSU history including Skip Bertman, Sue Gunter, Pat Henry and Bill Arnsparger. However, controversy seemed to follow Brodhead at LSU and it eventually led to his resignation as LSU's athletic director. During his stint as AD from 1982-1986, Brodhead had historic feuds with coach Jerry Stovall, who he fired following the 1983 season. Brodhead's relationship with Stovall's replacement (Arnsparger) began well but ended ugly as well when Arnsparger eventually left after just three seasons. In 1983, Brodhead fired baseball coach Jack Lamabe but didn't bother telling him. Lamabe's wife read a classified ad in the Baton Rouge Advocate advertising the head coaching vacancy. But the most memorable occurrence during the Brodhead era was the infamous "bugging" scandal. Brodhead bugged university offices so he could eavesdrop on NCAA investigators. He later pled guilty to federal charges, was sentenced to community service, and later resigned in October 1988.
9. Charles McClendon's retirement/firing
Nick Saban was 53 years old when LSU won the national championship. In 1979 in his final season at LSU, Charles McClendon was 53 years old also. At 53, Saban was regarded as a genius. For McClendon, the game was said to have passed him by – a stark contrast to his heyday in the 1960s when LSU was consistently ranked in the top 10. As the 70s dragged on, LSU struggled 5-5-1 in 1974 and 5-6 in 1975. While McClendon's teams enjoyed back-to-back 8-4 seasons in 1977 and 78, there was a growing sentiment among administrators and fans that Mac needed to go. When Paul Dietzel returned to LSU as athletic director in 1978, it was rumored his first act of business was to fire his successor as LSU coach and long-time friend. McClendon was set to serve as president of the National Football Coaches Association in 1979, a great honor for a head coach. McClendon and Dietzel came to an agreement that Mac would retire following the 1979 season. While he went quietly, his staunchest supporters swear he was fired.
10. Tiger Stadium Expansion/Dormitories
Tiger Stadium's structure includes several dormitories which are no longer in use. These became part of the stadium because the state budget included money for dormitories but not the stadium expansion desired by Louisiana Governor Huey Long. In order to get around the budget restrictions, Long had the dorms built into Tiger Stadium and included seating for football games.
1998-99 – Lou Tepper and the drop linebacker
2007 – Les Miles
2002 – Saban and Dennis Franchione
2001 - Damon Duval and the LSU tuba player