'He's got a golden opportunity': LSU football fans greet new coach Brian Kelly
BATON ROUGE — Kenny Fogg started attending LSU football games when tickets cost $1 in the south end zone at Tiger Stadium.
Fogg later relocated to the press box, where he’s kept game stats since 1972.
“I’ve been around a bunch of different coaches and seen them all,” Fogg said.
Fogg had a new coach to meet on Tuesday. Alongside by his wife Lynn, Kenny drove from Denham Springs to the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport to meet new LSU coach Brian Kelly.
“This is probably the most exciting hire that I’ve seen,” Fogg said. “I’m more excited about Coach Kelly than I’ve been any other hire we’ve ever made. He’s got a great resume. He hasn’t won a national championship but this is the place to do it.
LSU hired Kelly away from Notre Dame on Monday, ending a six-week search to replace Ed Orgeron, who reached a separation agreement with the school on Oct. 17. After a final team meeting Tuesday morning at Notre Dame, Kelly arrived in Baton Rouge around 3:15 p.m. He will be introduced at a press conference on Wednesday.
Kelly is getting a 10-year contract that will pay him at least $9.5 million per year, according to a school release. With incentives, Kelly could earn upwards of $100 million over the course of the contract. No other contract details were made available.
Kelly’s overall record is 263-96-2 record at Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Central Michigan and Grand Valley State. Notre Dame finished 11-1 this season, the sixth time Kelly has won 10 or more games in the past seven seasons.
He passed Knute Rockne as Notre Dame’s all-time winningest coach in September.
Scott Dejean, a Baton Rouge native, hasn’t missed an LSU home game in 40 years. Dejean never thought he’d see the Tigers win a national championship, much less three over the past 18 years. Once he learned about the hire, Dejean was convinced Kelly will bring another title to Baton Rouge.
“I know everybody says he’s 60 years old over but the last five years, he’s had five 10-win seasons and gone the College Football Playoff twice,” Dejean said. “I think he’s got a golden opportunity to do well because he’s been at a major program.
“He’s taken on the big boys and he’s been successful.”
Doraine Wilson expected LSU to hire Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, who was announced as the new USC coach on Sunday. Amid reports linking him to the job, Riley said following Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State that he would not be LSU’s coach.
Wilson and Jo Lainehart, both of Baton Rouge and active in the Bengal Belles support group, thought LSU athletic director Scott Woodward would hire a younger coach.
“At first we were a little taken back because we thought it was going to be someone young who can stay with us for many years, but after thinking about it we think he’s going to come in and do a good job,” Wilson said.
“I think he’ll find Louisiana people are very welcoming and we’ll see everybody is really excited.”
Kelly inherits an LSU program coming off its worst season since 1999. Orgeron began negotiating a $16.9 million separation agreement with LSU following a 42-21 loss at Kentucky on Oct. 9. LSU announced Orgeron would not return in 2022 on Oct. 17, one day after a 45-42 win over Florida at Tiger Stadium.
In Orgeron’s final two seasons, LSU was a subpar 11-11 and 8-10 in the SEC.
“Coach O did a great job and was exciting, but like he said, he didn’t do what he was supposed to do the last two years,” Fogg said. “I thought that was nice of him to say that and to leave with good words and not bitter words.
“That’s good for the program and for him. He loves LSU.”
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.