Looking Ahead: LSU Poised to Hire Its First Black Head Football Coach?
By Chris Warner
September 5, 2021
September 4, 2021, is a day that will long live in infamy among LSU alumni and Tiger Football Fans; an unequivocal, terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. It was all-around rotten axis revolution because the tattered, child-like hopes and dreams of legions of storm-weary Tiger fans were dashed, much like the day they realized as kids that Santa Claus is a lie; and similarly, for Tiger fans—there will sadly be no turning back; as the innocence is now gone—Pandora’s box perforated, its gritty contents fully revealed. This Shakespearean tragedy, born from an Orwellian nightmare, is a different sort of problem, one that if not properly dealt with, could be costly. It will take a higher level of thinking to remove the football program and the athletic department from this unenviable predicament. Moving forward, things may never be the same. How the administration and the board of supervisors react, in time will determine all.
The LSU Athletic Department, bent on its own peculiar plan of political correctness and wokeness that ostensibly denudes its national brand and favored fan status, finds itself with the harrowing prospect of firing its head football coach, an embattled man already under the national media microscope for an ongoing legal problem not yet accounted for, involving allegations of a systemic cover-up of sexual misconduct, violence and rape by athletes. Addressing these and other concerns will require decisions based on sound logic and reasoning, or else the athletic program will thereafter be in peril, as any big-time department is only as successful as its football program, and its ability to stay out of trouble—on and off the field.
A Rumor Confirmed?
I was in South Louisiana for the 2020 Christmas season, spending holidays with family in Acadiana, when I met in downtown Lafayette an old friend from New Iberia, for a rare, early night out, due to covid restrictions, as the restaurants and bars closed at 11. My boyhood friend, a UL alumnus, has lived in Lafayette for over two decades and closely follows the UL program. I asked him why Billy Napier turned down offers from Auburn and South Carolina, as it was being reported in the news.
“What’s the story?” I asked, knowing better. “What’s really going on?” I prompted him.
“Oh—you haven’t heard?” He replied, obviously in the know.
“No, I have not. Enlighten me.”
“He’s going to Baton Rouge after Ed gets fired next year.”
There was a moment of silence before I admitted the obvious.
“That makes sense—if true.”
Billy Napier is a guy who worked as an analyst for a year under Saban during the 2011 season, helping the Tide defeat the Tigers in the Superdome for the national championship. He also coached offense and quarterbacks with Clemson, Colorado State, and Arizona State before taking his first head coaching job at UL, where he is 28-12 and 2-1 in bowl games, since 2018; his Cajuns were the undisputed 2020 Southland Conference Champions. Napier would be a fine hire. He has the pedigree, knows Louisiana recruiting and has demonstrated his ability to build a program and win. The rub is does he have the politics needed to get the job—whether or not the majority of the LSU Board of Supervisors will do his bidding? It could be a fight.
Go Woke; Go Broke
The LSU administration lately has made decisions based on political correctness instead of logic and for what is best for the athletic department, Louisiana State University and its student-athletes, students, alumni and paying fans. When Coach Orgeron is relieved of his duties, will a genuine search be performed? Is Billy Napier already the de facto ‘Coach in Waiting’ as has been rumored for some time? Or will the vacancy be used to solidify the ongoing political agenda—will it be the crowning achievement of the omnipotent woke movement? Will political correctness ultimately win the day, as it has so often lately at the Ole War Skule? Will the repeated axiom—go woke, go broke—ring painfully true?
Like I have said, in the coming weeks, we will find out just how woke the LSU Fan Base is; and whether or not they approve of what is currently happening to their beloved flagship, its honored tradition and its storied football team.
*Chris Warner lives in Perdido Key, Florida. He is a double graduate of LSU and the University of New Orleans, and the author, co-author and publisher of over twenty books, including “Inside the Eye of the Tiger,” A Tell-All Book on the LSU Athletic Department…the memoirs of a maverick, by former LSU Tennis Coach Jerry Simmons.
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