Reports linking Mickey Joseph to the LSU football coaching staff began to trickle out Monday, and they poured in Tuesday.
Joseph’s wife started to receive congratulatory text messages. They began to trickle in, too, and then they inundated her cell phone by Tuesday evening.
“This is big, huh?” Priscilla Joseph said to her husband.
He shot back, “This is big.”
Ed Orgeron hired Mickey Joseph as his wide receivers coach, giving the 48-year-old New Orleans native his first major college job. LSU’s first-year head coach plucked Tommie Robinson out of Los Angeles, too, naming the former USC assistant his recruiting coordinator, assistant head coach and running backs coach.
“He’s going to be a tremendous asset to our program and will be a great resource for all of us,” Orgeron said of Robinson in a statement released by the school.
“Mickey is well-known in our state and he has strong ties to New Orleans. He’s an outstanding coach with a great deal of experience on the offensive side of the ball,” the coach said in the release. “He’s an outstanding recruiter with a great work ethic and will be a tremendous addition to the staff.”
Joseph, a former Nebraska quarterback who starred at Archbishop Shaw, will arrive in Baton Rouge on Wednesday night and begin work Thursday morning, he said.
“Coming out of high school, I played big-time football so I know the pressure of being at LSU,” he said. “I know the standards there. I know the bar is high, and it should be high. I know we’re expecting to win that SEC title and national championship. That’s one big reason I wanted to come — I wanted the challenge.”
Mickey Joseph understands the top priority of his new job as LSU's receivers coach.
Joseph has coached receivers, quarterbacks and special teams at various smaller schools and historically black colleges, including Grambling (2014-15), Alcorn State (2013), Central Oklahoma (2004), Nicholls State (2001-03), Alabama State (2000) and Tulane (1999).
In his first major college job, he knows the priority: recruiting. Joseph fills the gap in New Orleans, left open first by Frank Wilson and then by Jabbar Juluke.
“My thing is, let’s put a gate around it and keep our kids home,” Joseph said. “We’ve got a product we’re putting out there that a kid wants to stay home. My job is go get the ones we identify and keep them home.”
Both of the hires were geared to recruiting.
The recruiting site 247Sports.com ranked Robinson as the second-best recruiter in college football this cycle. Robinson is a veteran of major college recruiting with high-profile stops at Miami (2007-09), Georgia Tech (2002-05) and TCU (1994-97).
“He just has the kind of personality that puts you at ease,” Jim Jeffcoat, who coached with Robinson with the Dallas Cowboys from 1998 to 2000, said in a story published by the Austin American-Statesman. “He’ll be very good when he goes into homes. The parents will immediately like him.”
The hires potentially put a bow on the Tigers staff moving into spring practice. Drills begin March 11.
LSU's nine full-time coaching positions are filled: Dave Aranda (defensive coordinator/inside linebackers), Matt Canada (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Jeff Grimes (offensive line), Steve Ensminger (tight ends), Robinson (running backs), Joseph (receivers), Pete Jenkins (defensive line), Corey Raymond (defensive backs) and Dennis Johnson (outside linebackers).
Many expect the NCAA to allow programs to add a 10th full-time assistant coaching spot during voting in April. Orgeron suggested last month that he may use that extra coach to fill the open special teams coordinator role. He fired special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto in November.
The coaches hired Tuesday replace two whom Orgeron removed from his staff, both holdovers from former coach Les Miles’ group: Dameyune Craig, receivers coach hired last spring and recruiting coordinator since Orgeron took over in the interim, and Juluke, whom Orgeron moved to an off-the-field role. Texas Tech hired Juluke on Tuesday, naming him running backs coach and associate head coach.
Contract details for Joseph and Robinson were not released. Joseph made $100,000 at Louisiana Tech last year, according to USA Today. Juluke was set to make $275,000 this year. Robinson’s salary last year at USC was not released, but he made $330,000 in 2015 at Texas. Craig was set to make $575,000 this year.
Jabbar Juluke quickly found a new home — his old one.
LSU owes Craig and Juluke more than $850,000. Payments to either would be offset by a new salary.
Robinson, a 53-year-old Alabama native, spent 2016 and 2013 with the Trojans and 2014-15 with Texas. Robinson worked with Orgeron at USC in 2013, the year that program fired Lane Kiffin and employed Orgeron as interim coach.
Robinson doesn't only bring a long history of college coaching. He coached for the Cowboys alongside Miles in the late 1990s, and with the Arizona Cardinals in 2010-12.
Joseph’s ties to Louisiana and football run deep. His younger brother Vance was recently named coach of the Denver Broncos, and his cousin Terry spent the past three years as secondary coach at Texas A&M.
Mickey was Gatorade Player of the Year and a first-team Parade All-American out of Shaw in 1987. He signed with Nebraska and legendary coach Tom Osborne and started during the 1990 season.
Joseph’s coaching career began at the high school level in Nebraska and eventually led back to his hometown. He worked as a graduate assistant at Tulane in 2000, and he has recruited New Orleans for the past 17 years.
He’ll do it in purple and gold now.
“It’s an opportunity I thought I needed to jump on right away before they changed their minds,” Joseph laughed. “LSU is one of the top five jobs in America, if not the best job.”
Hometown: Phenix City, Alabama
Alma mater: Troy State, safety (1982-85)
- 1991 Arkansas — graduate assistant
- 1992-93 Utah State — running backs
- 1994-97 TCU — receivers
- 1998-2000 Dallas Cowboys — receivers/special teams
- 2001 Oklahoma State — running backs
- 2002-05 Georgia Tech — tight ends
- 2006 Memphis — running backs
- 2007-09 Miami — running backs
- 2010-12 Arizona Cardinals — running backs
- 2013 Southern Cal — running backs
- 2014-15 Texas — running backs
- 2016 Southern Cal — running backs
Hometown: New Orleans
Alma mater: Nebraska, quarterback (1987-1991)
Family: wife Priscilla Arzaga Joseph; children Jacob (24), Zachary (22), Makiyah (14), Maya (11), Malania (1)
- 1999 Tulane — graduate assistant
- 2000 Alabama State — receivers
- 2001-03 Nicholls State — quarterbacks
- 2004-05 Central Oklahoma — running backs
- 2006-08 Desire Street Academy (high school) — head coach
- 2009-10 Langston — assistant
- 2011-12 Langston — head coach
- 2013 Alcorn State — receivers/special teams
- 2014-15 Grambling — receivers/special teams
- 2016 Louisiana Tech — running backs