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Why Did Tommie Robinson Leave USC Football for LSU?

Alicia de Artola
Feb 9, 2017, 9:27 AM PST
Nov 12, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron walks onto the field to watch his players warmup before the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 12, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron walks onto the field to watch his players warmup before the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
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New LSU running backs coach Tommie Robinson explained his decision to leave USC football on Thursday, citing a strong relationship with Ed Orgeron.

Why did Tommie Robinson trade in Los Angeles for Baton Rouge? The short answer is, Ed Orgeron.

When he was introduced as LSU’s new running backs coach after spending one season with USC football, Robinson cited his first year with the Trojans under Orgeron as the interim head coach.

“When he and I were together the last time — I’ve been coaching football for 32 years, and in 2013, I had the most fun I ever had coaching football, and it was the way Coach O ran it,” Robinson was quoted by Coaching Search. “I can sit here and tell you a whole lot of things, but at the end of the day, the sell was Coach Orgeron.”

Of course, as charismatic as Orgeron can be, as evidenced by his top-level recruiting history and his ability to entice coaches to join his staff, there’s another big element to Robinson’s departure.

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Ross Dellenger of The Advocate in Baton Rouge reported the details of Robinson’s new salary:

Tommie Robinson, the Tigers’ new recruiting coordinator and running backs coach, will make $575,000 in the first year of a three-year contract he’s set to soon sign. The contract will have a built-in raise pushing his salary to $600,000 in 2018 and 2019.

Robinson is also taking on two new titles with the Tigers — assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator.

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That’s a sizable step up for Robinson, who held titles as USC’s running backs coach and run game coordinator.

USC is a private school, so contract information is not public, but Dellenger estimated that he made $450,000 a year while coaching for the Trojans. LSU also agreed to pay a $237,500 buyout.

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The question is whether or not USC made an attempt to match LSU’s offer or if Robinson’s connection to Orgeron would have trumped any offer the Trojans put forward.

In any case, USC now has the task of finding a new running backs coach before the start of spring camp in March.

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