Orgeron accepts associate head coach job at Tennessee

Updated: December 31, 2008, 7:22 PM ET
By Bruce Feldman | ESPN.com

Ed Orgeron is headed to Tennessee.

The former Ole Miss head coach, who spent the 2008 season as the New Orleans Saints defensive line coach, confirmed via text message this afternoon that he has accepted an offer to be the Volunteers recruiting coordinator, defensive line coach and will have the title of associate head coach.

"I'm so excited," Orgeron said via phone. "I get to coach with Monte [Kiffin] and I'm getting to recruit again. It's pedal to the metal and I can't wait to get up there."

Orgeron came to his decision after spending the past few days in Destin, Fla., with his family and weighing his options which included an offer in a smiliar role at LSU or staying in New Orleans.

The 47-year-old Louisiana native had been intrgued by the chance to coach at LSU, a school he grew up rooting for. However he was ultimately swayed by the chance to work with new UT coach Lane Kiffin and his father, legendary defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin who also has relocated to Knoxville. Orgeron is expected to make $650,000 making him one of the nation's highest paid assistants.

The move back to the college ranks had been rumored for weeks as it was well known how passionate Orgeron is about the chase of the recruiting trail and the chance to help develop young players.

Widely hailed as one of the top recruiters and defensive line coaches in football, Orgeron also had worked with Lane Kiffin when the pair were part of two national championship teams at USC.

Orgeron, who had learned to evaluate talent in his days at Miami under then-Hurricanes coach Jimmy Johnson and from Pete Carroll, who was the Trojans recruiting coordinator as the program returned to the top of the college football world. As a line coach he has developed first-round picks Cortez Kennedy, Russell Maryland, Warren Sapp and Mike Patterson. He also was responisble for most of the talent that has developed into a top 25 team at Ole Miss this season.

Bruce Feldman is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine.