LSU Men's Hoops vs Ohio

LSU football head coach Brian Kelly speaks to the crowd during his introduction speech Wednesday, Dec. 01, 2021, during LSU’s 66-51 win against Ohio in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on North Stadium Drive in Baton Rouge, La.

Ed Orgeron’s tenure as the head coach of the LSU Tigers is now over.

After late-game heroics by Max Johnson and Jaray Jenkins sealed a win over No. 15 Texas A&M, Orgeron was on to Destin, Florida, with suntan lotion in hand. The administration and now the former head coach decided he was not going to coach in the potential bowl game as the Tigers became eligible with this victory.

He ended his press conference with a “Geaux Tigahs” and a “c’mon baby let’s go” smiling ear-to-ear.

Rumors were swirling Saturday night following the game, rumors that LSU was ready to announce former Oklahoma HC Lincoln Riley as the next coach to lead the Tigers. Rumors that went as far as stating a catering company was on hand for the announcement.

“On Saturday night… LSU had a catering company all ready for an announcement on Sunday afternoon. They were going to announce their coach, and it was going to be Lincoln, and Lincoln bailed on them and went to USC,” as reported by Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network.

Scott Woodward, LSU, and the college football world were shocked by this announcement as Riley had his Sooners in position to play for a New Year’s Six bowl in the upcoming weeks.

I had gone home to Seattle for Thanksgiving break, and as Monday afternoon came around, I was packed and getting on a flight headed for Houston to return back for the final two weeks of classes. Once I landed and took my phone off Airplane Mode (sorry, I’m not paying for in-flight WIFI), I was greeted to a barrage of ESPN, Twitter and Snapchat notifications from friends announcing that LSU has “found their guy.”

Brian Kelly, formerly of Notre Dame, was to be hired as the 34th head coach of the Tigers. As the Twitter world erupted following the news of Lincoln Riley departure for USC, there seemed to be an even bigger seismic-shock sent through as this announcement was made. Kelly and the Fighting Irish were ranked sixth in the nation, and could have made the College Football Playoffs if the right pieces fell into place for the team.

Woodward made news of the hiring official Tuesday morning, and fans crowed around BTR Jet Center waiting for Kelly’s arrival in Baton Rouge. Some of those in attendance found another opportunity to talk Tigers and drink beers with other fans as they awaited another impactful occasion for the program.

Brian Kelly is the most accomplished hire in program history, entering the Bayou with a head coaching record of 284-97-2 in his 31 years of coaching. Kelly is the winningest active head coach in the FBS, with Nick Saban as the closest in competition (273 wins). In all of his years of coaching, Kelly has only had two teams finish below .500. The most impressive of this is the 113-40 record over the last 12 seasons at Notre Dame, with one appearance in the 2012 BCS national title game and two CFP appearances in 2018 and 2020.

After the press conference concluded, Kelly had other obligations, making appearances at both the men’s and women’s basketball games on Wednesday and Thursday last week. Kelly spoke at halftime of the men’s game against Ohio hyping up the crowd for what should be an exciting season going forward.

Those in attendance, myself included, had no qualms with what Brian Kelly was saying, as he spoke to his excitement for being in the “great state of Louisiana” and what was to be an “incredible ride here at Louisiana State University.”

However, those watching the recording of the halftime speech picked apart each word, especially criticizing the dictation of the word “family” as it had a southern drawl as it rolled from his mouth.

Kelly, being born in Everett, Massachusetts, was recently recorded saying “family” in a different tone just a few weeks back.

Those online were quick to roast the new Tiger head coach, and had people for a few days forgetting about the news of Lincoln Riley just a few days earlier.

Whether Kelly going forward pronounces it “fam-i-ly” or “fah-muh-lee” it really shouldn’t matter to this fan base as long as there are wins in the record book.

Even myself, coming from Seattle, has found a way to work “y’all” into my dialect being around it for the past 18 months.

Kelly didn’t speak during halftime of the women’s basketball game. He just smiled, waved, and shared some words with an energetic Kim Mulkey.

He has made a few stops around town, as you do moving to a new area. With it comes a new energy around the LSU football program, and another home run hire for Woodward. Just in the past year Woodward has pulled in Jay Johnson, Kim Mulkey and Brian Kelly to fill vacancies in Tiger athletics.  

Going forward, it will be interesting to see what recruits decide to stay on with the program, but the biggest five-Star QB commit Walker Howard seems to be all-in on the hire having retweeted multiple posts about Kelly on his Twitter profile.

Things are looking alright in Baton Rouge, and the Brian Kelly era is just getting started.

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