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BATON ROUGE — Back when LSU’s bowl chances appeared slim and none, Ed Orgeron described blue skies and white beaches as the ideal setting for his final game coaching the Tigers.
Orgeron is headed to the beach with his girlfriend, but not in any official capacity.
“I’m packing to go to Destin,” Orgeron said. “I’ll be there tomorrow.”
Orgeron will not coach LSU in a bowl game, he announced following Saturday’s 27-24 win over No. 14 Texas A&M in Death Valley. The Tigers (6-6, 3-5 SEC) took the lead over the Aggies (8-4, 4-4) with 20 seconds left to clinch bowl eligibility.
The decision was mutual on the part of Orgeron, athletic director Scott Wodward and LSU’s administration.
“I told the guys I wish them luck,” Orgeron said. “I’m not gonna to sit here and coach when there’s another guy coming in to be the head coach this week or the week after that. I’m not gonna do that.
“This is my team and as soon as they got a new head coach, I was gonna go.”
Offensive line coach Brad Davis will be LSU’s interim coach for the bowl game. A Baton Rouge native, Davis was hired away from Arkansas in June.
“I hope they go to a great bowl,” Orgeron said. “I know that Brad Davis is going to do a great job and whoever the new coach is, I wish them all the luck in the world. I’m always going to be an LSU Tiger fan.”
Orgeron told LSU’s players about his departure in the postgame locker room. He joined them on in the north end zone one last time for the alma mater, savoring his final moments on the field at Tiger Stadium.
“It was emotional because we know day-in and day-out, Coach O gave his all for us,” linebacker Damone Clark said. “Coach O treated us like his own kids and its hard to see somebody walk away but that’s the nature of the business and we wish him the best of luck.”
Orgeron exits LSU with a 51-20 record in six seasons. The Tigers finished 15-0 and won a national championship in 2019 but regressed to 11-11 over the past two seasons.
LSU began negotiating a separation agreement with Orgeron following a 4-21 loss at Kentucky on Oct. 9. Orgeron walks away with a $16.9 million buyout that LSU will pay over installments until 2025.
“We did what we were supposed to do at LSU,” Orgeron said. “We won a championship, but had two subpar seasons and I was in total agreement when Scott (Woodward) came to me after Kentucky.”
Since finalizing Orgeron’s exit, LSU finished 2-3 over the past month. The Tigers closed the regular season with wins over Louisiana-Monroe and Texas A&M.
Trailing Texas A&M by four points, LSU quarterback Max Johnson threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jaray Jenkins for the go-ahead score. Clark recorded back-to-back sacks on the final two plays of the game.
“Coach O has been the same from Week 1 whenever I first got here to any week,” offensive tackle Austin Deculus said. “He’s been doing an amazing job and I’m gonna for sure miss him.”
Orgeron pumped his chest on the way to the locker room after the game, a tribute to his late father, Ed “BeBe” Orgeron Sr. In his final press conference, Orgeron thanked the media for treating him fairly over his time at LSU.
“If you come to Destin, we’ve got a little suntan lotion for you boys,” Orgeron said.
Orgeron offered one final "Go Tigers," then turned to his girlfriend while exiting the podium.
"C'mon baby, let's go," Orgeron said. "See y'all later."
Adam Hunsucker covers LSU for the USA TODAY Network. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @adam_hunsucker. Enjoy Adam’s work? Consider a digital subscription for unlimited access.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Ed Orgeron will not coach LSU's bowl game. Offensive line coach Brad Davis is interim.