New LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron, a former Northwestern State football standout who began his coaching career with the Demons, is the featured guest Friday, May 5, at NSU Athletics’ 2017 Legends Gala.
The sixth annual event, benefitting the Demons Unlimited Foundation, will be staged in Natchitoches for the first time. Orgeron will be joined in the spotlight by many of the other 20 NSU sports standouts spotlighted since the inaugural Legends event in 2012, said Dr. Haley Taitano, executive director of the DUF and associate athletics director at NSU.
Guests can join Orgeron at a 5 p.m. VIP Cocktail Hour at the new Chateau St. Denis Hotel at 751 Second Street in downtown Natchitoches. At 6 p.m., the event shifts across Second Street to the Natchitoches Events Center, where a dinner, auction and Legends panel discussion will ensue, followed by Orgeron as the featured speaker.
Details on the various participation levels and an online purchasing opportunity are available at NSUDemons.com/LegendsGala.
Orgeron, a 1984 Northwestern State graduate, was named LSU’s coach Nov. 26 after leading the Tigers to a 5-2 record as interim coach over the final two months of the 2016 season. His Tigers blasted Missouri, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M by double-digits and dropped close contests to Southeastern Conference Championship Game participants Alabama and Florida by a combined 16 points, battling the Crimson Tide scoreless in the first three quarters and falling a yard short of beating Florida.
The Larose native, who teamed with fellow Demon Legend Bobby Hebert to help South Lafourche High School win the 1977 Louisiana Class 4A state championship, was a standout on the NSU defensive line form 1980-83 under coaches A.L. Williams and Sam Goodwin. He was the first recipient of the Joe Delaney Memorial Leadership Award for Defense in 1983, voted by teammates as a permanent team captain.
A 1984 liberal arts graduate of NSU, Orgeron began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Goodwin that season, helping the Demons win the Gulf Star Conference championship.
Individual tickets at $75 include access to the Legends VIP Cocktail Hour featuring Orgeron followed by the Legends dinner, auction and program, which is $50 to those not attending the Cocktail Hour. A special rate at the Chateau St. Denis Hotel is available until April 13 by calling 318-951-4105 to make reservations by mentioning Legends Gala.
Auction items will be available online leading up to the Legends Gala, said Taitano. Those who cannot attend the event can make bids at NSUDemons.com/auctions.
Taitano is available for additional information by calling 318-357-4278 or at firstname.lastname@example.org via e-mail.
The event was initially announced for Saturday, May 6, but an unresolvable scheduling conflict resulted in the shift up a day to Friday, May 5, said Taitano.
Sponsor packages range from $500 to $2,500 including various benefits and access, detailed at NSUDemons.com/LegendsGala.
Orgeron was 6-2 as interim head coach in 2013 at Southern California, and was head coach for three years (2005-07) at Ole Miss, where he arranged to play his alma mater in 2006 and 2007 guarantee games that produced $650,000 in revenue for NSU Athletics.
Noted as one of the most successful recruiters in college football in the past two decades, Orgeron served two stints on staff at USC, and made his name as defensive line coach at Miami from 1988-92. He also coached at Arkansas and Syracuse, and with the New Orleans Saints in 2008.
Orgeron was named in 2007 to the Top 100 Demon Players of All-Time roster chosen during the NSU football centennial celebration. At end and tackle in his final two seasons, he made 121 tackles, including 17 for lost yards.
In 2014, he was enshrined in the N-Club Hall of Fame and was also spotlighted at that year’s Legends event along with Hebert and two more football greats, Gordon Boogaerts and Kevin Lewis.