Ole Miss Parts Ways With Coach Ed Orgeron After 3 Years
Mississippi State beat the Rebels Friday, 17-14
Nov. 24, 2007
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -Ed Orgeron is out as Mississippi's football coach.
A news conference was scheduled for Saturday to discuss "the future of the Ole Miss football program," and Orgeron will not attend.
A person close to the program said Orgeron will not return for a fourth season. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made.
Orgeron's departure ends a tumultuous three years that featured plenty of bravado but few wins. The move comes a day after the Rebels' most difficult loss of the season. A fourth-and-1 call by Orgeron started a rally by Mississippi State that ended in 17-14 defeat after it appeared the Rebels had won. The outcome left Ole Miss winless in conference for the first time since 1982.
Calls to Orgeron were not immediately returned.
Chancellor Robert Khayat and athletic director Pete Boone were to attend the news conference. Khayat told the AP late last month that Orgeron's job was safe and he believed Orgeron would eventually field a winner, even if it took five or six years.
Since then, the Rebels have lost five of six and 20 players were put on probation after stealing radios and pillows from hotels, totaling about $780.
Khayat hired Orgeron from Southern California, where he was defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. Many considered him the nation's best recruiter after helping to land Matt Lineart, Reggie Bush and a host of Trojans who participated in two national title runs.
His former boss, USC's Pete Carroll, said this month that Orgeron's presence was still felt in California, where Ole Miss coaches were trying to lure recruits from the Trojans.
While the Rebels have been close to a signature win during the last three seasons, Orgeron was unable to provide hope for a school and fan base wanting an immediate winner. This season was particularly difficult for because Orgeron's recruiting efforts weren't evident on a defense that finished near the bottom in nearly every defensive statistical category in the Southeastern Conference.
Orgeron was brought in to replace David Cutcliffe, who was coming off a 4-7 season in 2004 one year after sharing the SEC Western Division championship. Khayat said Cutcliffe had not done enough in recruiting when he fired the current Tennessee offensive coordinator.
Since then the Rebels are 10-25, including Friday's difficult loss at Mississippi State. Orgeron took the blame after deciding to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Rebels 49. The Bulldogs stopped running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a 3-yard loss, then rallied for 17 straight points in the final 10:05.
"If I had to do it all over again, I probably would not make the same call," Orgeron said. "I understand that was a bad call and that it probably cost us the game. I understand that and I take the blame."
Orgeron is the second SEC coach in the last two seasons to be fired after just three years on the job. Mike Shula also felt the sting of fan discontent at Alabama, where he was fired last year after a 6-6 record that followed a 10-win season.