Ed Orgeron went 6-2 as USC’s interim head coach last season after Lane Kiffin was fired and naturally believed he had made a case for the full-time job.
When he didn’t get it, he admits now, he was hurt and didn’t know how to respond.
Orgeron left the Trojans before the bowl game and went home to Louisiana.
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When new head coach Steve Sarkisian called and offered a job on his staff, Orgeron declined out of all the emotions that hit him so strongly when he was told the team was no longer his — disappointment, frustration, sadness, pride.
But now Orgeron has had a change of heart after spending this football season at home.
"I will be a USC Trojan forever, and, I don’t know what they’re thinking, but the door to come back there is always open in my mind," Orgeron told the Los Angeles Times. "If the right situation comes up this year and they ask me to go back, I’d be more than happy to listen. I’d come back as an assistant. I love the people there. I’m with my family now, but I miss my family there. I miss ’em right now. In the belly.
Orgeron was thankful that USC extended him an opportunity to remain with the program last season but said he couldn’t accept the job at that time. "Pat Haden was gracious and kind and generous to me, Sark is a friend who made me an outstanding offer, everyone there has been nothing but classy and professional with me," Orgeron told the Times. "But it just hurt too bad to suddenly not be their head coach. Maybe me staying for the bowl game, being positive, that could have helped me in the long run, but I was heartbroken and I couldn’t fake it.
"My heart and soul were so empty, it was like being a father who is told you can’t have your children anymore. So we decided to go home … Had to find out who I was as a man. Who are you? Where is your heart? I had to come home and find out."
Orgeron has done that, and it’s quite clear his heart is still at USC.