Pat Haden allegedly offered Ed Orgeron the USC football head coaching position, even working out a salary and having him sign a contract. Then he reneged.
It’s always been obvious that Ed Orgeron’s loss to UCLA as USC football’s head coach in 2013 cost him the permanent job. Now we know it was even worse than that.
Orgeron was promised the job by then-athletic director Pat Haden. He even signed a contract. And then Haden reneged, according to Orgeron in Bruce Feldman’s new book “Flip The Script.”
In an excerpt posted on Faith Driven Athlete, Orgeron detailed how Haden screwed him over.
I had a meeting with Pat Haden the day before the UCLA game. He told me he was 99 percent sure that I was going to be the next head coach at USC. We had talked about a deal at three million dollars a year. He had the contract all made up. I signed it. He had it on his desk, but he didn’t sign it. It felt disrespectful the way he dangled the job in front of me.
But then he introduced me to some people as the next head coach at USC.
“I’ve just got to make it a formality on Sunday,” he said. “Tell your wife to stay over to Monday. Make sure you’ve got some suits.”
I brought my family out for the UCLA game. My boys flew in from Louisiana.
Haden told Orgeron he would call him on Sunday to finalize the details. However, USC lost to UCLA 35-14 and the call never came.
Instead, Haden turned around and hired Steve Sarkisian without speaking to Orgeron first.
On that Monday, Orgeron confronted Haden and told him, “I am the better hire for USC.”
Haden obviously didn’t listen.
Ed Orgeron got the last laugh over Pat Haden and USC football
Haden’s legacy at USC has already been tarnished quite a bit by his run as the athletic director who fired Lane Kiffin on the tarmac, replaced him with Sarkisian whose alcoholism resulted in his firing and then hired Clay Helton whose tenure has fallen short of expectations.
The way Haden did Orgeron so dirty certainly doesn’t help his legacy.
The fact that Orgeron went on to win a national title as the head coach at LSU adds to the embarrassment.
Orgeron might not have worked out at USC, where resources for the football program have been sorely lacking compared to LSU’s willingness to pay for the best coordinators on the market. Still, he deserved more respect than Haden gave him.
Even if Orgeron hadn’t come out on top with the Tigers, it’s just not a good look for Haden or USC. Hopefully, future coaching transitions are handled with a lot more grace.